Documentation of Constructive Innovation Assessment (CINA) workshops:
InnoForESt Innovation Region Eisenwurzen, Austria

D4.2 subreport

Main authors: Jutta Kister, Michael Klingler, Wolfgang Baaske, Christian Schleyer, Hannah Politor and Eva Seebacher
With contributions from: Veronika Gaube
Edited by: Ewert Aukes, Peter Stegmaier

List of Figures

List of Tables

Abbreviations

FES Forest Ecosystem Services
IR Innovation Region
LTSER platform Long-term social-ecological research platform
MHC Möbel-Holz-Cluster Oberösterreich/Furniture and Wood Construction Cluster, Upper Austria
SPES Studiengesellschaft für Projekte zur Erneuerung der Strukturen / Study association for projects to renew structures AND ‚Spes‘ – lat. ‚Hoffnung‘/Hope
STUDIA Studiengruppe für internationale Analysen / Study group for international analyses

1 Introduction

1.1 Overall case description

The governance innovation in the Innovation Region (IR) is expected to better capture the value of forests and concrete Forest Ecosystem Services (FES) in the mountainous and densely-forested areas of Eisenwurzen (Austria). The aim is to build up a network of innovative collaboration in order to improve sustainable use of forest-and wood-related resources with improved and sustainable benefits for the region and the people living and working there. In particular, regional value chains for timber and forest-products are to be created in order to secure local artisanship and create future-oriented sustainable solutions for forest management. Stakeholders from different sectors are hoped to become involved in the network, including representatives from two National Parks as well as economic and administrative actors. The innovation is in an early stage of identifying and linking stakeholders.

The Austrian case study focuses on value creation from forests and wood processing. On a regional level, the innovation is expected to lead to a more sustainable forest management and an increased collaboration of stakeholders from forestry, public administration, regional planning, tourism, and traditional craftsmanship in order to create value and support local jobs. The relation to Forest Ecosystem Services (FES) is dominated by – but not restricted to – the extractive use of regional timber. The process of innovation is still in an early stage. So far, three options have been formulated:

  • Furniture, design & region
  • Mobile wooden houses & tourism
  • Experiencing forest and wood (e.g., for hiking, recreation, or education)

While timber and (furniture) wood is the major focus for stakeholders representing especially interests for the economic valorization of natural resources, biodiversity conservation, erosion and water protection or climate regulation are FES which are considered as important, too, by stakeholders such as the National Park administrations or the regional forest department. Depending on the final character of the innovation, it is likely that aesthetic values and a certain experimental and sensual interaction with forests, wood, and timber (e.g., in the context of forest-related educational programs or activities) will feature more prominently.

1.2 Problem background

The aim of the IR Eisenwurzen is to build up a network of innovative collaborations in order to improve options for sustainable use of forest and wood-related resources with improved benefits for the region and its inhabitants. The region encompasses a high share of forest area; protected areas are of relevance. As many other comparable rural regions, the Eisenwurzen is confronted with an increasing loss of population.

2 Case overview

2.1 Case history

Table 1: Brief history of the Eisenwurzen innovation.
Period Description
Mid-End 1980s Kirchdorf an der Krems is one of the districts with the highest share of organic agriculture (in the upper quartile in terms of cultivated area and produce) in Austria. In the 90’s, the district is in the top position in regional agricultural marketing initiatives per inhabitants, see Baaske (2002, p.117).
1990 The Austrian district Kirchdorf an der Krems has become a pioneer in organizing a self-driven process of regional development characterized by involving stakeholders. A survey in general local public (E. Brunmayr 1991: “Kirchdorf Szenario 2010”) showed high acceptance for developing the region towards living and performing economic activities in a nature-friendly way; environment and economics are not perceived as contradiction. This process supported the idea of a National Park Kalkalpen, which was established in 1996.
1994 The region Steyr-Kirchdorf elaborated a development strategy, in which both nature conservation and value creation in agriculture, forestry, and tourism have been a substantial focus (ÖIR, FAZAT, STUDIA (1994): Regionalwirtschaftliches Konzept). Joining the EU in 1995, Austria starts to participate in EU co-financed regional development programmes (Leader, 5b-programmes, Interreg).
Ca. 2000 Following regional representatives, the regional development slogan “From forest to wood” (“Von der Wald- zur Holzregion”) was coined. The focus on value creation in the forest-wood chain remains vivid in later concepts up until now (e.g., Regioplan (16.5.2003): Regionales Entwicklungskonzept Steyr-Kirchdorf; Lokale Entwicklungsstrategie Leader Region Nationalpark Oö. Kalkalpen).
2004 Eisenwurzen becomes an LTSER platform (Long-term social-ecological research) with manifold research-related activities (inter- and transdisciplinary), but also with an established and extensive network of local, regional, and national stakeholders (including forest-related ones), rather research-supported initiatives/projects in areas including regional development, agriculture, forestry, tourism, and an impressive set and range of social-ecological data and monitoring systems.
2011-2013 Interreg-Project project ‘Modular furniture from National park regions’, financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European program ‘Europäische Territoriale Zusammenarbeit, Grenzübergreifendes Förderprogramm Interreg Bayern-Österreich 2007 – 2013’. This project was developed and led by the InnoForESt practice partner STUDIA Schlierbach, and co-operated with the ‘Furniture-wood-construction cluster Upper Austria’ (MHC) and the ‘Network Forest and Wood’ (Bavaria).
2017/18 The idea of developing, constructing and deploying tiny houses for use in the region emerged, and local constructors, tourism actors and model developers started to work on implementation plans. In cooperation with the Furniture and Wood Construction Cluster (MHC) Upper Austria and the SPES Future Academy in the ‘Wood Theme Network’, an idea for a mobile, modular accommodation in wood construction was developed. As a basis, a container-shaped modular timber construction that can be configured variably, developed by the company Wolfthal, was used.
2017 Integrating modular-furniture idea as governance innovation in InnoForESt project
March to May 2018 Qualitative survey amongst former participants of Interreg Project and further regional stakeholders (semi-structured interviews with individual or small groups of stakeholders) mainly conducted by scientific partner UIBK (see Topic 1) contributing to the Stakeholder Analysis and the Governance System Assessment.
May 2018 Decision to pursue further the (modular)-furniture idea as one governance innovation idea/scenario, yet linking it more to design and regional issues rather than the ‘modular’ aspect (Furniture, Design & Region). Further, two other governance innovation ideas/scenarios ‘Mobile wooden houses and Tourism’ and ‘Experiencing Forests and Wood’ were added.
24 October 2018 Focus group discussions on three governance innovation scenarios (Furniture, Design & Region; Mobile wooden houses & tourism; Experiencing forests & wood) with selected stakeholders initiated and organized by IR team
7 February 2019 First CINA (Scenario Selection) Workshop, Kirchdorf/Krems
16 May 2019 Second CINA Workshop, Reichraming
17 July 2019 1st Task-Force-Group Eisenwurzen meeting with five external regional stakeholders on further developing the idea of an innovation platform
30 October 2019 ‘Market place’ during InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach: enabling exchange, mutual knowledge and understanding between InnoForESt-project partners and local actors of the forest-wood value-chain
31 October 2019 Excursion ‘Forest-wood-value-chain Eisenwurzen’ in the context of the InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach: a) giving the InnoForESt members insights into the forest-wood value chain of the Eisenwurzen region; b) local stakeholders have the opportunity to communicate innovative approaches to and to exchange experiences with an international community
November 2019 Launching Digital Platform ‚Innovationsplattform Wertschöpfungskette Wald-Holz‘ (https://eisenwurzen.innoforest.eu/)
23 January 2020 Third CINA Workshop, Schlierbach
25 March 2020 2nd Task-Force-Group Eisenwurzen meeting (cancelled/postponed due to COVID-19)

2.2 Brief stakeholder constellation

List and typology of relevant stakeholders (as of July/August 2018: Stakeholder analysis report) including actor-network mapping separate for the three innovation ideas addressed by the focus groups in October 2018):

Table 2: List of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (A) ‘Furniture, Design & Region’

(* SME (Small and medium enterprises) // ** PR (Private), PU (Public), PU-PR (Public-Private), C (Collective) // *** L (Local), R (Regional), N (National), I (International) // **** L (Low), A (Average), H (High))

Stakeholder (UIBK, STUDIA) Stakeholder category (UIBK)* Sphere** Business type Scale*** Openness to innovation****
Regionalforum Steyr-Kirchdorf / state deputy / mayor Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
WKO (chamber of commerce) Public administration PU Chamber of commerce L H
LAG LEADER-Region Traun4tler Alpenvorland Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
LAG LEADER-Region Nationalpark Oö. Kalkalpen Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
Nationalpark Gesäuse Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R A
Nationalpark Kalkalpen Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R L
MHC – Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria Cooperation network and consulting cluster PU-PR Furniture and wood business cluster R H
Baumfreund SME PR Joinery L H
Pastarro SME PR Joinery L H
Bezirksinnung Steyr-Kirchdorf SME C Joiner‘s guild L A
Tischlerei M. SME PR Joinery L H
Wood Designer A. G. SME PR Wooden design L A
Forstbüro R. (Forest office) SME PR Forestry service and consulting R A
University of Innsbruck Scientific organization PU Research, knowledge exchange, innovation network I H
STUDIA Schlierbach Civil society actor PR Regional development, research and consulting N H
Sawmills and timber merchants SME PR Sawmill and timber merchants L A
Table 3: List of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (B) ‘Mobile wooden houses & Tourism’

(* SME (Small and medium enterprises) // ** PR (Private), PU (Public), PU-PR (Public-Private), C (Collective) // *** L (Local), R (Regional), N (National), I (International) // **** L (Low), A (Average), H (High))

Stakeholder name (UIBK, STUDIA) Stakeholder category (UIBK)* Sphere** Business type Scale*** Openness to innovation ****
SPES Zukunftsakademie Cooperation network and consulting cluster PR Training and research center R H
Regionalforum Steyr-Kirchdorf / state deputy / mayor Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
WKO (Chamber of commerce) Public administration PU Chamber of commerce L H
LAG LEADER-Region Traun4tler Alpenvorland Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
LAG LEADER-Region Nationalpark Oö. Kalkalpen Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
MHC – Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria Cooperation network and consulting cluster PU-PR Furniture and wood business cluster R H
Tourismusverband (tourism association) Nationalpark Region Ennstal Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R A
Tourismus Region Oberes Kremstal Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R A
Tourismusverband (Tourism association) Gesäuse Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R L
Nationalpark Gesäuse Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R A
Nationalpark Kalkalpen Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R L
Zimmerei W. SME PR Carpentry L H
Biomasseverband ÖÖ. (bBomass association Upper Austria) Cooperation network and consulting cluster C Consulting service on bioenergy R A
Forstbüro R. (forest office) SME PR Forestry service and consulting R A
University of Innsbruck Scientific organization PU Research, knowledge exchange, innovation network I H
STUDIA Schlierbach Civil society actors PR Regional development, research and consulting N H
Sawmills and timber merchants SME PR Sawmill and timber merchant L A
Table 4: List of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (C) ‘Experiencing Forests & Wood‘

(* SME (Small and medium enterprises) // ** PR (Private), PU (Public), PU-PR (Public-Private), C (Collective) // *** L (Local), R (Regional), N (National), I (International) // **** L (Low), A (Average), H (High))

Stakeholder name (UIBK, STUDIA) Stakeholder category (UIBK)* Sphere** Business type Scale*** Openness to innovation ****
Regionalforum Steyr-Kirchdorf / state deputy / mayor Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R A
LAG LEADER-Region Traun4tler Alpenvorland Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
LAG LEADER-Region Nationalpark Oö. Kalkalpen Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
SPES Zukunftsakademie Cooperation network and consulting cluster PR Training and research center R A
MHC – Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria Cooperation network and consulting cluster PU-PR Furniture and wood business cluster R H
Tourismusverband (Tourism association) Nationalpark Region Ennstal Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R A
Tourismus Region Oberes Kremstal Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R A
Tourismusverband (Tourism association) Gesäuse Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R L
Nationalpark Gesäuse Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R H
Nationalpark Kalkalpen Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R H
Stift Admont (Abbey Admont) Land- and forest owner PR Forest and natural resource management / Forestry service L-I L
Biomasseverband ÖÖ. (Biomass association Upper Austria) Cooperation network and consulting cluster C Consulting service on bioenergy R A
Bezirksbauernkammer Kirchdorf Steyr (District chamber of agriculture) Public administration PU Forest and natural resource management / Forestry L A
Bezirksbauernkammer Kirchdorf Steyr (District chamber of agriculture), Forstberatung (forest consultancy) Public administration PU Forest and natural resource management / Forestry L H
R. Waldschule (forest school) SME PR Environmental education L H
Forstbüro R. (forest office) SME PR Forestry service and consulting R A
University of Innsbruck Scientific organization PU Research, knowledge exchange, innovation network I H
STUDIA Schlierbach Civil society actors PR Regional development, research and consulting N H
Tourists and leisure users Recreational users PR Tourism and local recreation L-I A
WKO (District chamber of commerce) Public administration PU Chamber of commerce L H
Waldbauernvereinigung (farmers forest association) Land- and forest owner C Forest and natural resource management / Forestry service L A
Large forest owners Land- and forest owner PR Forest and natural resource management L-I L
State forest owner Public administration PU Forest and natural resource management N L
Table 5: List of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (D) ‘Establishing innovation-platform forest-wood’

(* SME (Small and medium enterprises) // ** PR (Private), PU (Public), PU-PR (Public-Private), C (Collective) // *** L (Local), R (Regional), N (National), I (International))

Stakeholder name (UIBK, STUDIA) Stakeholder category (UIBK)* Sphere** Business type Scale***
Regionalforum Steyr-Kirchdorf Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R
Chamber of commerce (WKO) Public administration PU Chamber of commerce L
LAG LEADER-Regions Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R
National Parks Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R
Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria (MHC) Cooperation network and consulting cluster PU-PR Furniture and wood business cluster R
Joineries SME PR Joinery L
Furniture Designers SME PR Furniture designer L
Forest Management SME PR Forestry service and consulting L-R
Sawmills SME PR Sawmill and timber merchant L
SPES Future Academy Cooperation network and consulting cluster PR Training and research center R
Tourism Associations Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R
Carpentries SME PR Carpentries L
Biomass Associations Cooperation network and consulting cluster C Consulting service on bioenergy R
Chamber of Agriculture Public administration PU Forest and natural resource management / Forestry L-R
Forest Education SME PR Environmental education
Tourists Recreational users PR Tourism and local recreation L-I
Community Civil Society Actors (non-profit) PU Community L
Forest Farmers Association Land- and forest owners C Forest and natural resource management / Forestry service L
Forest Owners Land- and forest owners PR Forest and natural resource management L-R
Energy Consultancy SME PR Consulting N
Firewood Community Association SME C Firewood Community Association L
Agricultural School Scientific organizations PU Research, knowledge exchange, innovation network R
University of Innsbruck Scientific organization PU Research, knowledge exchange, innovation network I
STUDIA Schlierbach Civil society actors PR Regional development, research and consulting N
Figure 1: Typology of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (A) ‘Furniture, Design & Region’ according to stakeholder category and geographical aggregation.
Figure 2: Relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (B) ‘Mobile wooden houses & Tourism’ according to stakeholder category and geographical aggregation.
Figure 3: Typology of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (C) ‘Experiencing Forests & Wood‘ according to stakeholder category and geographical aggregation.
Figure 4: Typology of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (D) ‘Establishing innovation-platform forest-wood’ according to stakeholder category and geographical aggregation.

Participants in focus group discussions who are not mentioned in the lists above:

  1. Franz Reiterer (Forest management)
  2. Alexander Gebeshuber (Design student)
  3. Cosima Öllinger (SPES)

In preparation of the ‘Market Place’ event at the InnoForESt Consortium Assembly in October 2019 in Schlierbach, stakeholder information (including lists of stakeholders and mappings) was updated and complemented with the innovation idea (D) ‘Establishing innovation-platform forest-wood’. For this ‘new’ innovation idea, the stakeholder lists for the other three innovation ideas were merged and modified: several individual stakeholders were clustered into stakeholder groups (e.g., National Parks, LAG-LEADER-Regions, Joineries, Tourism Associations, Chambers of Agriculture). Newly added were stakeholders particularly from the business types of forest and natural resource management, wood processing, consulting as well as science and education. Stakeholders that were only mapped once in the course of the interview and had no participation in previous workshops were left out in this illustration. We also decided to skip the category ‘Openness to innovation’.

2.3 Reflection: overall governance situation before workshop

Many of the issues identified in the Austrian Innovation Region should be seen in the light of the emergent character of the forest ecosystem services governance innovation. Many explorative issues – some more, some less concrete – were reported. They are a mixture of moderately structured issues in the dimensions of knowledge and norms and values.

The following can be distinguished as overarching issues:

  1. Knowledge gaps with respect to legal frameworks, regional planning policies, intellectual property rights, and commercial aspects. The three innovation scenarios proposed in the Austrian Innovation Region – tiny houses, design furniture, and forest experience and education – are for now in their early stages of development, both regarding to specific content as well as the institutionalization thereof.
  2. Fair division of labor and financial compensation. Neither of the innovation scenarios builds on existing production processes or organizational infrastructures. While there are already commercial valorization processes for forest ecosystem services in the Innovation Region, these are all characterized by fragmented value chains. It will be one of the challenges for the Innovation Team to produce an innovation narrative shaping a common identity for the innovation stakeholder platform and for opening up avenues for structural support with respect to knowledge and funding.
  3. Stakeholder openness to innovation. It is, as yet, unclear how stakeholders can be inspired to keep an open mind for new ideas and system transformations. While the solution to this issue may perhaps be found in relevant social-scientific literatures ranging from inclusive innovation to nudging or forms of social learning, it is still uncertain, which (combinations) of these fit the situation in the Innovation Region.

The Innovation Team also distinguished a set of unstructured core issues:

  1. Definition of the region. The ‘Eisenwurzen’ as a region is very broadly defined, with which the stakeholders usually cannot identify socio-culturally. The emotional bond is expressed more strongly on smaller scales (community, district, valleys) and is mostly limited by the respective federal state borders. The topography of the region, in particular the long travel distances between villages also limits the opportunities for networking and contributes to practical problems (attendance) in the promotion of events.
  2. Fragmented and globalized forest-wood value chains. Although for all stages of the forest-wood value chain there are enterprises working within the region, including wood processing, trading, handcrafting, forest protection and forest-related tourism, these companies are hardly connected to each other. In several cases, stakeholders know the direct business partner in a sense of input-output-chains, but in most cases, needed raw material as well as processed goods are bought and sold on the global market (guided by efficiency and profitability criteria). This leads to a high volatility of prices (price dumping by (usually foreign) companies with lower environmental protection laws or more favorable harvesting conditions; price decline after storm events) and a difficult situation for locally embedded traditional small-scale businesses.
  3. Definition of Eisenwurzen Design. It is uncertain whether there are craft and design traditions in the Innovation Region which could be rightfully characterized as ‘Eisenwurzen Design’. Traditionally, wood was used to build or stabilize iron ore mining tunnel, therefore the wood handicraft tradition is less developed. Even if it does exist, the stakeholder network needs to find a consensus on whether it is necessary to define such an Eisenwurzen Design and how to do so.
  4. Bringing together a variety of interests and forming a functioning innovation network and platform. This is a complex process. On the one hand, it very much depends on the precise contents of those diverging interests. On the other hand, a promising consensus about the objectives of the innovation network and platform still needs to be identified.

The explorative, emergent character of the forest ecosystem services governance innovation in the Austrian Innovation Region means that many of the distinguished issues cut across the niche, regime and landscape levels. The process of defining the innovation niche also relates to exploring ‘what is’ in the surrounding regime and landscape, not only to find out what kind of forest ecosystem services governance innovation could have potential, but also to gauge the societal, economic, legal and political possibilities and frameworks for the proposed, still rather fluid innovation niches ‘in-the-making’. Patterns of problem-solving strategies have not yet developed in this young Innovation Region. If they exist at all, they are organized and implemented on an ad-hoc basis.

Table 6: Initial multi-level perspective analysis of Eisenwurzen Innovation Region (cf. D5.1). 
Category Emergence in Eisenwurzen
Current regime Fragmented stakeholder landscape/FES value chain
Incumbent Decentralized, incumbent exists
Innovator Private civil society actor
Niche maturation Orientation/exploration phase
Origin of innovation vis-à-vis governance structure Outside
Dominant interactions Newly established and partly pre-existent
Changes in actor constellations across project lifecycle stages Broadening of range of (potentially) cooperating stakeholders; emerging network
Governance process mechanisms Regime: Business as usual, decentralized market dynamics;
Niche: stimuli to construct new FES value chains
Character of core issues Niche: what will the niche be precisely?
Niche-regime: how do niche ideas fit into current practices, laws and regulations?
Niche-landscape: can the niche link up with usually FES-unrelated sectors?
Character of external developments Climate and demographic change impacts viability of FES sector, might open up new opportunities; rural development funding is an opportunity; natural disasters and pests
Governance-ecology interactions Direct: educational trips into forest
Indirect: new ways of processing existing forest products being developed

3 Overall approach

3.1 Innovation strategy of the case study

The aim is to establish a network of innovative cooperation in order to combine forest, forestry, and wood resources with improved and sustainable benefits for the region and the people living and working there. In this way, regional value chains for wood and wood products are expanded and new ones created. Local handicrafts are thereby promoted and future-oriented, sustainable solutions for forestry are made possible. New synergies with sectors such as tourism or forest-related education can be expected.

As of April 2019, the governance innovation and the respective governance innovation scenarios are still in an early stage. The first CINA workshop encompassing all three focus group topics took place on 7 February 2019. The idea was to keep those stakeholders involved who are already ‘activated’, motivated, and connected, and to open-up the process to a broader group of stakeholders. Therefore, stakeholders from sectors that did not participate so far, were encouraged to get involved, for example, the regional tourism association or forest owners. The objectives were threefold:

  • To keep stakeholders involved who already participated in the focus group discussions (or showed interest to join but could not participate due to, for example, time restrictions);
  • To activate stakeholders to convince peers and partners to join the innovation platform/the workshop;
  • To contact stakeholders from other sectors (along the value chain of forest and wood products and related organizations and associations) that have not been involved so far. In particular, we aimed at those actors known as ‘open to innovation’.

For the first CINA workshop on 7 February 2019, we were planning to cover all three innovation ideas/scenarios. The discussions and the analysis of the inputs made by the stakeholders before the workshop indicated that none of the three innovation ideas seemed to be obsolete or without interest and potential. All innovation ideas seemed to be able to offer a solution for the aims brought forward by the stakeholders. On the other hand, the aims and expectations raised towards the respective innovation options proved to be quite overlapping amongst the three groups.

The three innovation ideas were perceived to be able to complement each other and the stakeholders interested partly overlap. When preparing the workshop, the innovation options seemed to work with different velocities or where at different stages of development. Stakeholders were found to invest/dedicate different amounts of bargaining power and resources (time, networks, and money) in the three innovation ideas. Therefore, the first workshop in February 2019 was planned to be of integrative character, i.e. to capture all three innovation ideas identified so far and to discuss and further them.

Several activities took place after – and because of – the first CINA workshop, including:

  • Call for master theses and real-life cooperation on topics of innovation ideas: ‘Tiny houses and wall thickness’ (University of Arts Linz, Veronika Müller and carpentry Wolfthaler); ‘Furniture, Design and Region’ (HTL 1 Robert Kurzmann).
  • Planning of a ‘community-building’ excursion in September 2019 to the Bregenzerwald in Vorarlberg on the topics of design and forestry (silver fir); establishing contact with the Werkraum Bregenzerwald.

Based on the positive perception of the first CINA workshop, the high participant turnout, and the requests to include also stakeholders from the Enns valley, the IR team decided to organize the second CINA workshop in the Enns valley in order to make the distances to come to the workshops being distributed in a fair manner among stakeholders in region. We further hoped to encourage other stakeholders (in particular from or nearby the Enns valley) to join the workshop. Contentwise, we reiterated the aim to fostering networking of stakeholders in the forest-wood value chain in the Eisenwurzen and to enable knowledge exchange, in particular learning from other regions. In particular for the latter purpose, we invited Gabriel Gruber (ARGE s’Hoiz, MHC) to give a keynote/input on ‘Networking along the forest-wood value chain’ using the ARGE s’Hoiz project as a best practice example and we were planning an excursion to the Bregenzerwald in the time after the workshop. In contrast to the first CINA workshop, however, the exchange and discussions were not structured according to the initial three innovative ideas (with the exception of the ‘Tiny Houses’ idea) but where more focusing on the design and future of the innovation platform (based on a respective input provided and presented by the IR team on a ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ as a fourth, integrative innovation idea).

Against the background of the rather meagre results of the second CINA workshop, it was suggested by the IR team to have a smaller, more targeted meeting of very active/motivated regional stakeholders before the next ‘inclusive’ CINA workshop. This Task-Force-Group Eisenwurzen was expected to more effectively discuss the purpose, objectives, principles, and organizational forms of the innovation platform both for the remainder of the InnoForESt project and beyond 2020.

The first Task-Force-Meeting took place on 17 July 2019 in Schlierbach with five regional stakeholders. The main objective of setting up a Task Force for the establishment of a platform was achieved. A number of thematic priorities for the platform were collected and discussed (e.g., origin of wood – ‘wood from the region; wood from here’ –, potential of beech wood, awareness raising for ecosystem services and climate protection).

The results of this Task-Force-Meeting were finally entering the planning of the third CINA workshop which took place in January 2020. However, right after the Task-Force-Meeting the work of the IR team focused on the preparation of two events during the InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach in October 2019: a ‘Market Place’ and an ‘Excursion’:

‘Market place’ during InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach: enabling exchange, mutual knowledge and understanding between InnoForESt-project partners and regional stakeholders of the forest-wood value-chain on 30 October 2019 in Schlierbach.

Excursion ‘Forest-wood-value-chain Eisenwurzen’ in the context of the InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach on 31 October 2019: a) giving the InnoForESt members insights into the forest-wood value chain of the Eisenwurzen region; b) local stakeholders have the opportunity to communicate innovative approaches to and to exchange experiences with an international community.

The third CINA-Workshop took place on 23 January 2020 and focused on speeding up the platform building process, working on organizational issues (legal form, responsibilities, decision making, representation, distribution of risks, funding options) of the stakeholder network/platform, and enabling the stakeholders to operate as a network in the time after the end of InnoForESt.

3.2 Platform and network process

Since the start of InnoForESt, several meetings of the IR team and with selected regional stakeholders have taken place. The most important meetings/talks, in the sense that they helped us in the process of building and establishing the platform and stakeholder network, are listed below. These activities have received large attention as building the platform and connecting different stakeholders is a major activity in the innovation region. This mainly includes stakeholders along the value chain of forests and wood production as well as going beyond to other sectors related to the process, such as administration, energy, mobility, and NGOs.

Initial meetings and other interactions include:

On 6 November 2017, Christian Schilcher and Felix Fößleitner, the managers of the LEADER regions ‘Traunviertler Alpenvorland’ (region in the Lower Alps, closer to the cities of Linz and Wels) and ‘Nationalpark Kalkalpen’ (more mountainous region) have been informed face-to-face.

Regional management and LEADER local action groups (LAG) are important regional organizations to promote regional innovation and create regional awareness. The ‘Regionalforum’ comprises all 44 mayors of the related Upper Austrian districts of Steyr-Land and Kirchdorf an der Krems, plus other political and sectoral representatives. In Austria, mayors play a significant role in building confidence and as regional multipliers. In the area of the Upper Austrian region Eisenwurzen, there are one Regional management, two LEADER LAGs, and two regional energy management groups. Four of these organizations had been informed on InnoForESt’s activities and participation opportunities well in advance of the focus group discussions/the first CINA workshop.

On 19 December 2017, Christian Wolbring, CEO of the Bürgerenergie (citizens’ energy) association, which is an important promotor of environment-friendly mobility solutions and resource efficiency, has been informed face-to-face. They provide a link to the ’Netzwerk Zukunftsraum Land’ (network future space countryside).

Alois Aigner, CEO of the ‘Regionalforum Steyr-Kirchdorf’ has been informed on InnoForESt via phone on 12 January 2018. Mr. Wolbring and Mr. Schilcher both attended the first CINA workshop.

  1. First meeting of IR team in the region on 29 January 2018
  2. STUDIA and UIBK partner meeting in Schlierbach: selection of interview partners for the stakeholder analysis and activation
  3. Stakeholder interview series – gaining information, communicating aims of InnoForESt, motivate stakeholders to involve in activities (see tables in Section 2.2)
  4. Talks to representative of National Park Gesäuse as an important affiliated project partner in the Styria state to help us activate Styrian stakeholders
  5. Talks to representative of LTSER-platform Eisenwurzen head (also affiliated project partner), connect with Umweltbundesamt (UBA) and BOKU university, Vienna
  6. Visit of opening of newly build chamber of agriculture, to promote and inform about InnoForESt, use the event to contact potential stakeholders
  7. Contacts with the neighboring Lower Austria part of Eisenwurzen have been started, for example by visiting Franz Handler, researcher at the agricultural research (Höhere Bundeslehr- und Forschungsanstalt BLT) in Wieselburg on 2 July 2018, and visiting the regional management of Amstetten, Rosamunde Pichler and Clarissa Schmitz on 11 October 2018.
  8. Series of one-to-one phone calls before the focus group discussions in October 2018 (to activate stakeholders and invite them to participate, also to inform and exchange ideas, answer questions)
  9. Focus group discussions – three discussions on one afternoon (24 October 2018)
  10. Series of one-to-one phone calls before the first CINA workshop (to activate stakeholders and invite them to participate, also to inform and exchange ideas, answer questions)
  11. One-to-one meeting with head of economic chamber of district
  12. One-to-one meeting with representative of SPES (mainly on mobile wooden houses innovation idea) (proHolz)
  13. Meeting with proHolz Tirole (Philipp Zingerle, Eva Moser, Simon Holzknecht) in Innsbruck: to learn from other regions, to discuss platform building activities (e.g., contribution of universities for project funding applications, identification of key stakeholders taking responsibility in the platform building process), to learn and discuss projects fostering innovations in the forest and wood sector (e.g., InnoWood, Holzolympiade, genialer Holztag, Barcamp), and to share experiences regarding stakeholders opinions on the future of the wood industry, digitalization, and the sustainability of ‘short’ product chains
  14. First CINA Workshop on 7 February 2019, Kirchdorf/Krems

In addition, mass media communication means have been an important activity in order to prepare for focus group discussions and the first CINA workshop. STUDIA developed communication designs for reaching the regional public. Several activities have been launched, one of them in synergy with the LTSER platform. In 2018, one focus of the LTSER platform has been set on communicating socio-ecologic research that involves regional actors.

STUDIA created a communication design for free-of-charge weekly newspapers, which has been filled with contents of the first CINA workshop on 7 February 2019. The communication design consists of a quarter page paid advertisement plus a half page content-related journalistic article. They have been published in “Tips” 2019/3th week, p. 10 and 2019/4th week, p. 13, the latter containing all information concerning the upcoming CINA workshop and the procedure for registration. 167,000 readers (many of them local stakeholders) have been reached twice with this information.

Franz Reiterer, who attended one of the focus group discussions, published an article on “Forestry know-how” in the regional weekly newspaper ‘Kremstaler Rundschau’ (2018/52nd week). This article used the communication design of STUDIA. The article contributed to awareness building concerning forest ecosystem functions. Reiterer told STUDIA via phone in January 2019, that he had received much positive feedback on that article. 35,000 readers (many of them local stakeholders) have been reached with this information.

STUDIA adapted the German version of the InnoForESt flyer to become an instrument for local communication. University of Innsbruck and HNEE designed and translated the folder into German; STUDIA included the regional contact information and procured printing. STUDIA distributed the folder on local events. One presentation has been at the annual General Assembly of the Regionalforum on 6 November 2018 in Steinbach an der Steyr.

In general, there is a strategy that helped us to bring the network building process further: The IR team, including the practice partner team (STUDIA) and the scientific partner team (UIBK), regularly sits together or communicates via Skype and exchanges ideas about which stakeholder categories or specifically important individual stakeholders have been missing in the last meeting or need to be involved for further meetings in the region.

In the course of the discussions, the practice partner team brings in their longstanding experience in working together with partners in the region. The scientific partners are able to include a more objective analysis of the compilation and characteristics of stakeholders and think beyond the boundaries of sectors or existing networks. By regularly recursive analysis of the current situation, in particular the discussions of and about the respective innovation ideas, new actor groups can be, have been and will be involved.

In addition, the stakeholders themselves have already been suggesting to stakeholders in order to involve additional stakeholders they know to the project activities, or have encouraged them do join by directly speaking with them.

  1. Second CINA workshop on 16 May 2019

A very rudimentary presentation of the digital platform did not find much resonance at first, but instead the desire for a ‘concrete’ idea to continue meeting was revealed. In this sense, the formation of an ‘analogue’ platform or one or more small interest groups or task forces plays a more important role.

Meetings and other interactions relevant for platform and network building processes that took place after the second CINA workshop include

  1. Presentation of ideas for Business park wood in Weyer (Wirtschaftspark Holz in Weyer) – Satellite event featured/supported by InnoForESt with 24 participating regional stakeholders including Wolfgang Baaske and Eva Seebacher on 12 June 2019
  2. 1st Task-Force-Group Eisenwurzen meeting with five regional stakeholders on further developing the idea of an innovation platform on 17 July 2019 in Schlierbach
  3. Excursion to Vorarlberg was planned to take place in September/October 2019 or early 2020 to support exchange and social contacts between stakeholders. This could not be realized but stakeholders were encouraged to join similar excursions lead by MHC Upper Austria (MHC On-Tour: Holzbau.Architektur.Reise) in April 2020 and proHolz Steiermark (Holzbau-Exkursion Vorarlberg) in March 2020.
  4. ‘Market place’ during InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach: enabling exchange, mutual knowledge and understanding between InnoForESt-project partners and regional stakeholders of the forest-wood value-chain on 30 October 2019 in Schlierbach
  5. Excursion ‘Forest-wood-value-chain Eisenwurzen’ in the context of the InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach on 31 October 2019: a) giving the InnoForESt members insights into the forest-wood value chain of the Eisenwurzen region; b) local stakeholders have the opportunity to communicate innovative approaches to and to exchange experiences with an international community
  6. Launching Digital Platform ‚Innovationsplattform Wertschöpfungskette Wald-Holz‘ (https://eisenwurzen.innoforest.eu/) in November 2019
  7. Meeting of the IR team on 16 December 2019 in Salzburg: a) to reflect and discuss progress of the InnoForESt project and the cooperation between UIBK and STUDIA over the last two years, b) to receive an update from STUDIA on the status of contacts and requests discussed with regional stakeholders from the Eisenwurzen, c) to develop an overall project strategy for 2020 (and post-2020), including the future of the innovation platform and the opportunities for continued science-practice collaboration between UIBK and STUDIA, and d) to discuss concept and organizational arrangements for the third CINA workshop on 23 January 2020 (objectives, format, invitations, etc.) and the planned excursion with regional stakeholders to the Bregenzerwald in Vorarlberg.
  8. Third CINA Workshop on 23 January 2020 in Schlierbach
  9. The third CINA workshop focused on furthering the development of ideas for networking and platform organization. Based on an input presentation by Gabriel Gruber on the best practice example of ARGE s’HOIZ and on fact sheets prepared by UIBK before, three organizational forms were discussed in detail with respect to pros and cons as well as fit to the needs of the ‘Innovation Platform Forests-Wood’: Work Group (ARGE), Association, and Cooperative.
  10. 2nd Task-Force-Group Eisenwurzen meeting on 25 March 2020 in Schlierbach (cancelled/postponed due to COVID-19)

For this Task Force meeting we had planned to prepare an input from UIBK compiling and reflecting on previous general and detailed objectives articulated and partly discussed previously. This would have been followed by a plenary discussion with the participants focusing on ‘What aspects are relevant and interesting for us? What aspects are interesting for us but not relevant’. Subsequently, we would have worked with the participants on the formulation of objectives using pre-formulated text modules, participant’s inputs, semantic analysis, and testing the SMARTness of these objectives. Finally, we would need to address the question on how to achieve these objectives/how to proceed.

3.3 Overall CINA workshop strategy

Focus group discussions
Date: 24 October 2018
Place: Schlierbach

Three pre-workshops (focus groups) held in SPES Schlierbach. They served as exploratory workshops. For the first time, the stakeholders related to the three innovation topics, which were compiled from the interview outcomes, discussed these innovation topics sitting on one table. Therefore, these discussions did not only serve to further elaborate challenges and chances related to the topics, but also served at bringing different stakeholders into first contact. In the focus group discussions, the stakeholders also discussed, which further stakeholders could and should be included. A few stakeholders did participate in more than one focus group; some more had been invited to do so when inviting them. Thus, we accounted for the fact that some stakeholders were actually – likely to be interested in and important for – more than one innovation idea.

23 participants, > 30 stakeholders actively involved in the preparation time (were contacted via e-mail and phone calls, gave feedback on expectations hindering factors or motivation to join or not).

1st CINA Workshop
Date: 7 February 2019
Place: Kirchdorf/Krems

The 1st CINA Workshop was held to discuss the three innovation ideas in a larger stakeholder round. Three scenarios focusing on one of the three innovation ideas were compiled, based on the knowledge gained so far. A fourth scenario was suggested, that tried to strengthen the inter-linkages between the three innovation ideas and encouraged to think them in an integrated way.

39 participants (29 regional stakeholders plus 1 external input and 9 IR team), > 47 persons invited

2nd CINA Workshop
Date: 16 May 2019
Place: Reichraming /Enns Valley

The 2nd CINA focused on fostering networking of stakeholders in the forest-wood value chain in the Eisenwurzen, to enable knowledge exchange, in particular learning from other regions (Best practice example as keynote speech by Gabriel Gruber (ARGE s’Hoiz, MHC) on ‘Networking along the forest-wood value chain’; planning an excursion to the Bregenzerwald workshop), to exchange and develop concrete, innovative ideas and to discuss design and future of the innovation platform. Three smaller working groups took place on a) ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’, b) Region + common identity + logo/symbol, and c) Tiny Houses.

29 participants (not all who were contacted participated at the workshop)

1st Task-Force-Eisenwurzen
Date: 17 July 2019
Place: Schlierbach

This meeting aimed at further developing the idea of an innovation platform in a smaller group of stakeholders (Task-Force-Group Eisenwurzen). Among others, purpose, objectives, and principles of such an innovation platform were discussed as well as the option to develop a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ for all interested regional stakeholders to sign. Further, the first rough mock-up of the regional InnoForESt digital platform was presented. Finally, options were discussed on how the platform could be continued after 2020.

8 participants (5 regional stakeholders plus 3 IR team)

3rd CINA Workshop
Date: 23 January 2020
Place: Schlierbach

The third CINA workshop focused on furthering the development of ideas for networking and platform organization. Based on an input presentation by Gabriel Gruber on the best practice example of ARGE s’HOIZ) and on fact sheets prepared by UIBK before, three organizational forms were discussed in detail with respect to pros and cons as well as fit to the needs of the ‘Innovation Platform Forests-Wood’: ARGE, Association, and Cooperative.

47 participants (14 regional stakeholders plus 6 IR team plus 25 Matura students at Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS plus 2 teachers)

4 Type 1 workshop(s): Innovation analysis and visioning

4.1 Visioning workshop 1

4.1.1 Scenarios used

The scenarios used in the first CINA workshop had already been prepared as inputs to the three focus group discussion on the respective topics carried out in October 2018. They reflect the main lines of interests and ideas identified during the stakeholder interviews in spring/summer 2018. The discussions during the focus groups showed that all three broad innovation ideas were sufficiently interesting and relevant for the regional stakeholders, though individual stakeholders were prioritizing the innovation ideas differently (see 3.1, the differentiated stakeholder mapping for each innovation idea, and the thematic findings of the first and second CINA workshops).

Innovation idea 1

FURNITURE, DESIGN & REGION

  • What is the purpose of innovation?

The development of an “Eisenwurzener design” pursues the goal of establishing a platform for better linking of the fields of wood, craftsmanship and design. The focus is on using the identity of the Eisenwurzen region to communicate sustainable forest and wood use potentials. In this way, a strategy is to be developed that both encourages local companies to cooperate more closely and across disciplines and conveys the traditional craft as a creative career perspective with an opportunity for self-employment.

  • What has happened so far?

Between 2011-2013, the INTERREG project “Modular wooden furniture from the national park regions (Kalkalpen and Bayerischer Wald)” was implemented to promote cross-border cooperation and innovation in the traditional timber trade. Based on the results of a market potential study (https://issuu.com/studia-austria/docs/vollholz-modulm__bel_aus_nationalpa), the project slogan “International design meets local craftsmanship” was combined with a competition of ideas for high-quality solid wood furnishing modules. Sixteen concepts submitted by young designers from renowned universities were reviewed and presented by an international jury of experts. Discussions resulted above all in questions of the quality of design and craftsmanship, the need for design furniture (market situation), the regional networking of companies and the development of future-oriented strategies. The project was initiated by STUDIA Schlierbach, the Bavarian Forest and Wood Network and the Upper Austrian Furniture and Wood Construction Cluster (MHC). As within the InnoForESt project, the innovative idea of furniture and design was taken up again. Interviews and focus group discussions with regional stakeholders showed that there is still interest in exploring and implementing the innovation potential of this idea.

  • Who is involved?

Joineries, design experts, sawmills, chamber of commerce Kirchdorf (WKO), Upper Austrian Furniture and Wood Construction Cluster (MHC). For further networking should be integrated: Steyr-Kirchdorf district guild, Steyr-Kirchdorf regional forum and LEADER associations, national parks, other sawmills and timber dealers, universities with a focus on design and timber construction.

  • Which opportunities and obstacles are emerging?

In the region no independent “Eisenwurzener-Design” in wood and furniture construction can be detected so far. The high potential for embedding and valorising this regional design strategy in tourism significantly increases the opportunity to communicate the sustainable use of forests and wood. Obstacles to the implementation of the innovation idea can be seen in the currently very high production workload of local joineries and the lack of a choice of innovative marketing and sales strategies. At the same time, it is precisely these problem areas that offer many opportunities to make companies more internally diverse and to make the “Eisenwurzener design” known across borders.

  • Where is the future?

The region tries to create an Eisenwurzen identity which is reflected in all phases between cultivation, processing and marketing of regional wood products. The aim is to create a diversified network that promotes cooperation between the actors involved and provides a regular platform for both internal and external specialist impulses from the crafts and design (for example from WERKRAUM Bregenzerwald or proHolz Tirol). By creating a higher awareness of regional wood, traditional crafts and modern design, the region will be able to position itself beyond its borders.

Innovation idea 2

MOBILE WOODEN HOUSES & TOURISM

  • What is the purpose of innovation?

A mobile wooden house in modular construction is to be developed and connected with the development in tourism. An ecological building method from regional wood mediates a connection between contemporary living and traditional handicraft. Through the touristic use an experience is created and ecological timber construction from the Eisenwurzen is known supra-regionally. The accommodations are mobile, less invasive and can therefore be set up at different locations according to seasonal needs, e.g., in summer on a cycle/hiking trail and in winter near a ski resort. Alternatively, several houses can be set up in one place. Other craftsmen’s activities can be included in the equipping and thus many jobs can be maintained. The wooden houses could become the new showpiece of the region.

  • What has happened so far?

The company Wolfthal has developed a container-shaped modular timber construction that can be configured variably. In cooperation with the Furniture and Wood Construction Cluster (MHC) Upper Austria and the SPES Future Academy in the Wood Theme Network, an idea for a mobile, modular accommodation in wood construction was developed. It could contribute to filling gaps in overnight accommodation in tourism in the region and to creating new capacities at seasonal peak times. In addition, it could be used to equip regions that so far have been insufficiently served regarding the tourism infrastructure. The framework plan for regional development provides for the linking of tourism and timber construction as well as the promotion of modern rural living.

  • Who is involved?

The Wolfthal company, SPES Future Academy, Upper Austrian Furniture and Wood Construction Cluster (MHC), Chamber of Commerce. Further partners that should be involved: Tourism associations and national parks, which are interested in the use; forestry companies and sawmills, which provide the wood; regional furniture and timber construction enterprises, which would like to bring themselves into the development and arrangement of the timber houses; further crafts enterprises for the equipment, for instance with water and electricity, as well as for the regional integration of the Regional Forum Steyr-Kirchdorf and further Regional forums and LEA-DER associations.

  • Which opportunities and obstacles are emerging?

An ecologically sustainable construction method in wooden construction would be more strongly promoted and be made visible. Regionality is integrated into tourism development, and at the same time tourism supports regional timber construction. This creates awareness for the wooden construction and is combined with an adventure – the wooden construction can be experienced. Mobility enables seasonal use. An attractive offer will direct visitors to new “hot spots”. Small-scale structures promote gentle tourism that requires little space and does not impair the soil.

It remains to be clarified which specific sites are to be planned in the first stage and thus questions of land zoning, accessibility as well as supply and disposal which are directly related to the respective sites. In addition, the intellectual property rights to the innovation ideas must be defined and, if necessary, a consortium of several partners must be formed.

  • Where is the future?

Mobile wooden houses could make ecological wooden construction made in the Eisenwurzen region known beyond the borders by allowing people to spend their holidays here and take home a positive experience with wooden construction in the nature. On existing and planned long-distance hiking trails, new overnight accommodations will be created that can be flexibly placed at idyllic locations. Above all, areas with a weak tourist infrastructure could be strengthened as a result. New tourist groups are addressed. How booking and supply or infrastructure connectivity could be arranged is still open, initial ideas have been collected for this. With an appealing architecture and furnishing made of regional wood as well as an innovative approach to operating the wooden houses, new visitors can be addressed.

Innovation idea 3

EXPERIENCING FORESTS & WOOD

  • What is the purpose of innovation?

Forest and wood should be perceived more consciously in society. This increases the appreciation of the forest, its protection and sustainable use. People are given positive associations with the forest and future decision-makers are sensitized. The vision is for more people to develop a feeling for the necessary cooperation between forestry, recreation, nature conservation and hunting. Municipal buildings can use sustainably produced wood more frequently as a building material and thus create visible and tangible examples, such as the fire station in Steinbach or the National Park Centre in Molln. The result can be higher regional added value in the forestry sector and in forest education and tourism. Positive effects on health through the forest experience are expected.

  • What has happened so far?

As early as 1990, the Kirchdorf/Krems district launched a self-organized regional development initiative that developed a “Kirchdorf scenario 2010”. The process demonstrated the high level of acceptance for ecological economy in the region and supported the establishment of the Kalkalpen National Park. The “Regional Economic Concept” (1994) focused on nature conservation and value creation from agriculture, forestry and tourism. The regional development motto “From forest to wood region” has since been alive in numerous regional development concepts. Since 2004 the Eisenwurzen is LTSER-Region (Long-Term Socio-Economic and Ecological Research); a platform for research activities was established. The Eisenwurzen project region is part of the EU project InnoForESt. Interviews and focus group discussions with regional actors revealed several innovation approaches.

  • Who is involved?

Forest pedagogy, municipalities with their mayors, Chamber of Agriculture, Economic Chamber. As important partners should be involved: National parks (Kalkalpen with the UNESCO natural heritage Buchenwald and Gesäuse), tourism associations of the districts, mobility providers for improved local transport connections, the Climate Protection Forest Association, sawmills, forestry enterprises.

  • Which opportunities and obstacles are emerging?

Forest nature is a free good, access should be open to all. At the same time there can occur conflicts between forest management and nature experience, e.g., through allotted forest roads or different expectations of forest on the part of recreational sportsmen and forest owners. Public transport connections, which can be part of the solution, do not yet meet the requirements.

Opportunities arise from the increased integration of forest education in order to be able to offer concrete adventure opportunities for locals and day/several-day tourists. Knowledge about forest functions and regional forestry and wood economy should be anchored among children and young adults. Forest owners who ensure the maintenance of forest protection functions (e.g., water protection, avalanche protection), as well as national parks and near-natural forestry enterprises, are more highly respected for their work.

  • Where is the future?

The “experiencability” promotes regionality in handicraft wood products and the use of regional wood species. The awareness of the benefits of forest ecosystem services and the appreciation of the forest as a natural space, as well as the regional handicraft products created from it, can be experienced through innovative educational measures and concepts for different age groups in the communities and also for day and multi-day tourists. A brand for regional wood could be part of the result and can create added value.

It remains to be clarified what the concrete innovative design looks like and how the relationship between the benefits and risks of such a measure for forest managers will be optimized. For this purpose concrete places such as forest educational trails, popular hiking areas or the new long-distance hiking trails such as the “Luchstrail” could serve.

4.1.2 Setting

The workshop was held at the Technology Centre in Kirchdorf/Krems. The location is easy to reach from the Upper Austrian part of Eisenwurzen and also accessible for the stakeholders coming from the Styrian part. The Technology Centre is located close to a main federal road; but also public transport services are available within a reasonable distance. The Technology Centre is well known as a place fostering innovation and new technologies on the regional scale.

The workshop took place in a separate workspace, a medium-sized room, including parts of the foyer for the welcoming buffet and coffee breaks. The room itself turned out to be a little bit too small for the number of stakeholders attending the workshop. Due to organizational communication problems, it was not possible to occupy an additional working space or other rooms for the group work.

Following an introduction round, brief introductory statements on the workshop objectives by the IR team as well as some short input presentations on each of the three innovation ideas by both a member of the IR team and a regional stakeholder, respectively, workshop participants were divided in smaller groups (4-6 persons). Every group moved to topic-related tables, which were hosted by members of the IR team. It is important to note that when switching tables participants did not have to stay in ‘their’ group. However, each participant was asked to join a different topic each time. Workshop materials (colored cards, markers, and tablecloth) to summarize discussion results and other outcomes were provided and presented later by the table hosts in the plenary using posters on walls. For the Workshop-part after the break, the tables and chairs still where placed in the room in the same way. For the discussion (General, open, moderated plenary discussion about how to transfer ideas to Eisenwurzen and to express how we should go on) some participants slightly re-placed their chair opening up in a round.

Further, stakeholders could lay out own informational material at a separate table and thus present their own work to all participants. Additionally, we had a table to grab drinks and finger food during the whole afternoon.

13:00 Come together, buffet
13:20 Welcome, short presentation of InnoForESt project
13:45 Presentation of three scenarios (by IR team members), followed by short expert inputs by three young stakeholders representing each scenario topic
“Café” – parallel discussions on six small tables – always two tables with the same scenario
Questions for discussions an each table:
– What attracts me to this topic? What can I contribute?
– What challenges and opportunities do I see with regard to implementation?
– What would bring the idea / the topic further?
Tablecloth method – discussion themes can be written on a paper “table cloth”.
15:20 Break
15:55 Short presentations of outcomes of the “café”
Input of Veronika Müller of wood design training course, Linz, about the exemplary case of ‘Werkraum Vorarlberg’
Linking of innovation scenario topics, expression of interest of all stakeholders to one or more topics (a graphic with three overlapping circles)
16:20 General, open, moderated plenary discussion about how to transfer ideas to Eisenwurzen and to express how we should go on.
17:00 End

4.1.3 Participants

List of Participants:

  1. Franz Achathaler (Agricultural technical school Schlierbach, teaching subject: forestry)
  2. Alexander Ahrer (Coaching, Supervision, Consulting; managing director of ‘TEAMVision’)
  3. Franz Bammer (Timber construction enterprise Holzbau Bammer)
  4. Hartmut Beham (Forest management at Drehers Forstamt)
  5. Regina Buchriegler (Kalkalpen National Park)
  6. Thomas Dickbauer (Sawmill & timber trade enterprise Dickbauer)
  7. Maria Dieterstorfer (Citizen Service Micheldorf)
  8. Felix Fößleitner (LEADER Region Nationalpark Kalkalpen, LAG-Manager)
  9. Alexander Gebeshuber (Designer)
  10. Georg Habacher (Model region for climate and energy ‘Pyhrn-Priel’)
  11. Gabriele Hebesberger (Chamber of Agriculture Upper Austria, district office manager Steyr-Kirchdorf)
  12. Alexander Kirnbauer (Chamber of agriculture Kirchdorf-Steyr, forestry consultant)
  13. Sabrina Leitner (Entrepreneur)
  14. Veronika Müller (Scientific director of course ‘Überholz’ at University of Art, Linz)
  15. Christa Öhlinger-Brandner (Project manager Waldness)
  16. Cosima Öllinger (SPES Zukunftsakademie)
  17. Siegfried Pramhas (Chamber of Commerce, district office manager Kirchdorf/ Krems)
  18. Gerald Putz (Forest administration Weyer)
  19. Christian Redl (Forest administration Schaumburg-Lippe, Steyrling)
  20. Franz Reiterer (Engineering office for forestry)
  21. Martin Riesenhuber (Forest-related education, Riesi´s Waldschule)
  22. Stefan Schimpl (Tourism association Almtal)
  23. Franz Schmeißl (Baumfreund)
  24. Gabriel Schwarzmann (ProHolz Upper Austria)
  25. Christian Weixlbaumer (Agricultural community Kirchdorf/ Krems)
  26. Christian Wolbring (Model region for climate and energy ‘Traun4lter Alpenvorland’)
  27. Fritz Wolf (Forest-related education, Waldschule Almtal)
  28. Markus Wolfthaler (Carpentry & Timber construction enterprise, managing director)
  29. Josef Wolfthaler (LEADER Region Traun4tler Alpenvorland, LAG-Manager)
  30. Herbert Wölger (Gesäuse National Park, managing director)

Project participants:

  1. Ewert Aukes (University of Twente, NL)
  2. Peter Stegmaier (University of Twente, NL)
  3. Christian Schleyer (University of Innsbruck)
  4. Michael Klingler (University of Innsbruck)
  5. Jutta Kister (University of Innsbruck)
  6. Wolfgang Baaske (STUDIA Schlierbach)
  7. Hannah Politor (STUDIA Schlierbach)
  8. Eva Seebacher (STUDIA Schlierbach)
  9. Veronika Gaube (Institute of Social Ecology, University of Applied Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna)

Excused participants:

  1. Ludwig Mayrhofer (Biomass association) – had another appointment that could not be postponed
  2. Julia Kienbacher (Tourism association Oberes Kremstal) – previous appointment lasted longer, so she couldn´t make it any more
  3. Andreas Weissensteiner (Weissensteiner company – forest management and consultancy, Bergholz Admont) – was ill
  4. Daniel Kreiner (formerly: National Park Gesäuse – now: Protected area supervisor for the state of Styria) – several other appointments
  5. Roman Winter (carpenter) – doctor`s appointment
  6. Stephan Hölzl (MHC – Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria) – another appointment at short notice
  7. Erich Gaffal (MHC – Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria) – no information
  8. Klaus Gassner (carpentry Gassner) – could not come but wants to be kept informed

Several additional persons have been contacted beforehand via e-mail. Some of them called in at STUDIA and said that they are not interested (one person), too busy at this time (five persons), the own enterprise is too small to participate in such activities (one person), on holidays (one person). Others said that they will send a colleague or informed other colleagues that might be interested (5 persons).

More information on the participants:

At the beginning of the workshop, we did a little get-to-know-each-other exercise: The stakeholders and IR team members were asked to introduce themselves and tell us, to which part of the forest-wood value chain they would count themselves. We had provided a respective large graph showing the value chain with suggestions for respective categories. Additionally, also categories that are overarching the entire value chain or are closely related to the chain were given. The stakeholders were able to select by themselves and could choose more than one category.

Figure 5: Stakeholders’ “location” on the forest-wood value chain. Result of the 1st CINA workshop.

English translation of wall graph: Forest-wood value chain:

  • Professional associations / chambers / clusters
  • Education / schools / pedagogics
  • National park / protection – forest owner / forestry – sawmills – handcraft businesses – commercialization – consumption (the last category was intended to be inclusive for everybody)
  • Design / Architecture
  • Tourism / recreation / health /sports
  • Regional development
  • Society / NGOs / clubs
  • Scientific institution
  • Mobility provider
  • Financial institution / subsidies

We noticed, on the one hand, that there was a quite good distribution of stakeholder types with respect to the elements of the forest-wood value chain. Some stakeholders put themselves in more than one category. We noticed that some categories were missing so far, such as: (local) politics/ local communities and energy sector. In fact, representatives of the municipalities, such as mayors or employees of municipal administrations were not attending and should be better encouraged to join more the next workshop. Some stakeholders named an affiliation with the energy sector and could not mark this in the exercise poster. Forestry-related stakeholders, forest owners and national park stakeholders as well as handcraft businesses, regional development and chambers/clusters were participating in a quite nice number and were relatively well represented at the workshop.

4.1.4 Key thematic findings

Generally speaking, stakeholders showed great interest in working on the overarching topic of networking with all stakeholders of the forest and wood processing and the marketing sector but also from other relevant sectors such as tourism, administration, energy, local rural development. Additionally, more stakeholders that work on/are involved in one of the innovation ideas expressed interest in building synergies with one of the other innovation idea. Stakeholders strongly expressed, that they prefer to initialize a new mode of working in that area which should include all three innovation ideas and which should also be open to and for other/new innovation ideas. Therefore, they clearly emphasized to think and work topic-wise in a crosscutting manner.

Specific remarks / comments made during the workshop:

  • To unveil what is already here: exchange experiences made by particular persons; exchange expertise (e.g., on use of local wood types or on construction of public buildings).
  • Identify interesting activities and initiatives in other Austrian regions or neighboring countries. – Learning from others’ experiences.
  • Some successful and strong ideas have already been realized in the region in the past, but repetition and further dissemination has not been possible (e.g., alternative wood construction methods by Holzbau Bammer). There is a need for analyzing the obstacles which have prevented a further progress or continuation of some of these projects.
  • Mostly ‘solitary’ work as a daily working practice but strong desire to feel more like being part of a bigger network. Need for stronger relationships within the region as well with external experts and manufacturers has been stated.
  • Wish to talk to each other, to exchange ideas, experiences and most of all: to build up trust between stakeholders!
  • A platform, once built up, will support every participating stakeholder by means of:
    • Motivation and feeling stronger, while knowing to have the network supporting his or her ideas and activities.
    • Better access to public funding.
    • Convince policy makers to support the particular project/idea.
  • A platform needs an organizational structure, rules and methods on how to work and interact together. A ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ is needed. The protection of intellectual property rights needs to be discussed. Experts regarding these topics should be invited for future workshops and meetings.

What exactly should we do?

  • Look up ‚Holz von hier‘- Initiative in Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • Strengthen trust within region
  • Rules, protection of ideas
  • Present own work to each other
  • Present own innovations at a public event
  • Analyze the current status: What is already existent in the region?
  • Inform and gain support from policy makers
  • Make contacts and build up a network
  • Share information about other InnoForESt Innovation Regions
  • Organize a field excursion to the Vorarlberger ‘Werkraum Bregenzerwald’

The input talk on the project ‘Werkraum’ in Vorarlberg stimulated the discussion in the second part of the workshop and prompted reactions on challenges that we should overcome in the Eisenwurzen region:

  • ‘Change of perspectives’ by visiting projects in Vorarlberg
  • Seek new contacts, especially with actors outside the daily routine.
  • Similar to the idea of the Vorarlberg example, in Eisenwurzen we should improve and extend the use of beech wood – this would probably support the whole region
  • Include professionals into the work (not only to work low budget), to intentionally include local partners, as well as those from outside the wood value chain (e.g., professional photographer, web-designer) in order to commit everyone to the innovation platform and/or respective innovation idea
  • Keep up the interdisciplinary/-sectoral platform, develop ideas, include external experiences
  • Bring the potential to “light” – construction of a website with photos and explanation of existing cases would help here
  • Develop trust. InnoForESt is able to give a support and to facilitate. We cannot improve the ‘situation’ by working alone. When we expose us to the region or beyond, we need a trustful group to support every one of us.
  • Observe, perceive and appreciate positive examples already existent in the region
  • We should be better in avoiding obstacles (by analyzing and exchanging experiences)

4.1.5 Detailed thematic findings

Scenario 1: Furniture, design & region

Findings on the scenario in the ‘café’-discussions:

Questions:

  1. What attracts me to this topic? What can I contribute?
  2. What challenges and opportunities do I see with regard to implementation?
  3. What would bring the idea / the topic further?
Figure 6: Brown paper notes on Scenario 1 from 1st CINA workshop.

From the region, for the region

Stakeholders expressed that it is crucial to reflect the use of regional resources. The pattern “From the region, for the region” were stated several times. It emerged from this discussion that the regional identity does not explicitly/exclusively derive from wooden resources but rather from the connection between iron and wood/timber. Historically, the region is known for the mining and trading of iron. Wood has been used as an essential material to extract and process iron (see name ‘Eisenwurzen’). A new production idea could emerge from a (new) combination of iron and wood and in this way might develop/create a very singular characteristic for the region. So far, a common regional design has not been identified but could be a chance for the region – also the tourism sector could benefit from a regional design.

Networking

Regional actors need to be better connected within and across the value chain. A new platform for regular information exchange should take into account already existing networks (e.g., Tischler Stammtisch der Bezirksinnung [‘Regular table of carpenters, organized by the respective district guild]). Financial initiatives, such as crowdfunding or the founding a cooperative could turn out interesting assets for realizing new and innovative projects, for example, wooden houses. Publicly funded construction projects (e.g., Chamber of Commerce Kirchdorf Steyr) should assign especially local manufacturers to provide regionally produced wood items in order to practice and educate the idea of “regionality”. Production of furniture should consider intensively regional markets as target groups. Design should be useful and functional for everyday purposes.

Awareness raising

Overall, there is a great demand for raising the awareness for regional materials (wood, timber) and handcraft know-how. The region should be definitely more the focus, on producer’s as well as on consumer’s side. The idea of certification and labelling adequate regional products could strengthen the valorization, which encourages in the end also producers to realize innovative design ideas for niche products and beyond.

Further issues identified by Ewert Aukes (UT) while attending smaller group discussions on this scenario:

  • Product value: According to forest owners/timber producers, they do not benefit from the fact that their product is a wanted commodity. The returns they receive on the wood they sell is low. They seem to feel that there is an imbalance in the production chain which favors later stages. Some express that they feel remotely steered by industrial actors. They claim they cannot live from the product anymore. It is proposed that the whole production chain should remain in the region instead of exporting half-products. Another aspect is that the durability and sustainability of wood products could be emphasized more in communication with consumers.
  • Specialist knowledge: Some participants fear that local specialist knowledge concerning the wood craft may disappear soon. Now, there are still people who can recognize wood suitable for very specific uses, such as window frames.
  • Design, not design:
    • The concept of design is ambivalent. On the one hand, it expresses an added-value of unique products which are of high quality, as opposed to mass-produced products. On the other hand, it conveys an air of expensiveness, which may scare off less-earning consumers. It is not clear to everyone what “design” as a concept is.
    • Some proposed to think in terms of functionality instead of design.
    • Durability of wood products (see above) also has implications for design: if the product has a long lifetime, it should not follow design fashions but it should be timeless.
    • While it was not clear to all, what an ‘Eisenwurzen-Design’ could look like, due to not being able to identify typical characteristics of the region, one participant had a precise description: ‘Eisenwurzen-Design’ should be close-to-nature, untreated, or only with natural substances, it should be edgy (“kantig”) and rugged (“schroff”)”
  • Wood type: not all kinds of wood are the same in terms of their application. Distinctions are made between fir and spruce on the one hand, and beech on the other.
  • Organization of the production chain: several alternatives for the production chain were mentioned, including thinking in terms of cooperatives as in agriculture, or alternative ways of funding (pre-funding, crowdfunding). There seems to be the conviction that the way to the consumer is not clear enough and messages of the artisanal craft existing in the wood production chain are not heard. Difficulty of conveying messages would relate to many projects. Based on the experience of the previous project on modular furniture, it was said to be advisable to involve few actors at first. The large-scale inclusion of stakeholders was identified as one of the barriers for success in the previous project.
  • Alternative activities: it could also be interesting to look into the refurbishment of traditional, old buildings with wood details that are typical for the region

Scenario 2: Mobile wooden houses & tourism

Findings on the scenario in the ‘café’-discussions:

Questions:

  1. What attracts me to this topic? What can I contribute?
  2. What challenges and opportunities do I see with regard to implementation?
  3. What would bring the idea / the topic further?

Stakeholder suggested to use beech and fire wood for constructing tiny houses. It should be looked at all kinds of tiny houses that already exist in the region. Some stakeholders mentioned tiny houses that they have seen.

Figure 7: Brown paper notes on Scenario 1 from 1st CINA workshop.

Mobile wooden houses can take very different forms and sizes, can have different purposes and can come as singular objects (e.g., a small wooden house close to a hiking path) or as agglomerations/settlements (e.g., providing temporary accommodation for visitors of an event or for construction workers). In particular, mobile wooden houses as ‘stand-alone’ accommodation in a picturesque countryside or forest, used for touristic purposes, were considered to be ‘romantic places of yearning’. They can be perceived as wooden ‘chalets for the not-so-well-off tourist’ and give the tourists – mostly coming from urban areas – a feeling of ‘living with wood’ and thus advertise the attractiveness of this material. Due to their relatively small, yet compact size that may be able to carry the notion of ‘space as luxury’ (also the experience to temporarily living within a much less spacious ‘roofed environment’ compared to ‘home’).

Some participants noted critically that (mobile) wooden houses would not be suitable solutions for housing problems (i.e. providing sufficient and adequate housing for all – “Wohnungsnot”/housing shortage) and should not perceived as such. Among others, in particular as singular constructions, the overall sustainability of mobile wooden houses would not be very high in terms of using space and energy efficiently. Further, supply with water and other essentials as well as disposal of waste/faeces could be a problem as well as ‘transporting’ them from one place to another.

In practice, a reliable and consistent legal framework for these kind of mobile wooden houses seems to be missing. This includes questions on the ‘level of permanence’ (e.g., if construction law would be the adequate legal framework, or not) and if they could be placed in areas where construction activities are forbidden otherwise (e.g., nature protection areas, landscape protection areas).

Stakeholders suggested using regional beech and fire wood in for constructing the tiny house, to make use of the locally available material, and to advertise the attractiveness of these wood types. Further, furniture and other (wooden) elements in those mobile wooden houses could be leaning on an ‘Eisenwurzen-Design’.

Scenario 3: Experiencing forests & wood

Findings on the scenario in the ‘café’-discussions:

Questions:

  1. What attracts me to this topic? What can I contribute?
  2. What challenges and opportunities do I see with regard to implementation?
  3. What would bring the idea / the topic further?
Figure 8: Flipover notes on Scenario 3 from 1st CINA workshop.

Figure 9: Collection of outcomes as collected by workshop table hosts.

The stakeholders were bringing up quite a wide range of arguments in this group. Important statements include:

  • Forest education should include a lifelong perspective and people should visit the forest repeatedly at all phases of life.
  • Forest education should not be divided into ecology and economy of the forests. Currently, the protected areas have different topics than the education programs of the forest owners. Others are more willing to keep up with this division.
  • There was a consensus about education on sustainable development that is “on the right place” when carried out in the forests.

Some quite concrete innovation ideas have been brought to the discussion:

  • We should strengthen local sawmills.
  • It would be good to formally implement hiking trails in the forests with educational purpose. By doing so potential conflicts of forest use for recreational purposes could be reduced.
  • Maybe a recreational map would be of advantage to guide visitors to specific paths for hiking and mountain biking.

Background for these ideas is the fact that legally the forest owner is responsible for the forest visitor when the visitor is on his/her territory. The forest owners are concerned about this legal responsibility for the visitor, they cannot guide, as usually the forest is used for economic activity. Therefore, there is a need to avoid conflicts between recreational use and commercial use; and maybe even the rights of the game have to be considered.

  • There is a need for compensatory payment for the management activities that is helpful to mitigate climate change.
  • Managing forests has to get more economically/commercially viable. Otherwise, forest owners employ subcontractors to manage the forest. As a consequence, weak human-nature-relationship of forest owners towards their owned forest nature are observable in the region. Additionally, it is perceived that subcontractors do not care much about avoiding collateral damage of their work in the forests. Damaged forests do not help enabling better connection or experience of local people in and with forests.
  • Generally, more buildings that are public should use local wood, thus people can experience wood while looking at or visiting the buildings. Further, local connection and a positive view of the local forests could be improved.

4.1.6 Process

Overall structure and setting of the workshop ‘worked’, no major deviations were necessary; not the least, since most parts of the program allowed for sufficient flexibility to account for specific topics/issues for discussion.

  • Physical setting (building, room) (see also above): Building was reasonably well-located and well-equipped (though not a wooden construction). Size of room was rather small for the number of people attending, so group work was a bit difficult – OK for group discussions, yet difficult for recording discussion on individual tables). Tables were placed separately to realize the discussions in smaller working groups.
  • The workshop was video- and audio-recorded. Several photos were taken during the workshop. The identified innovation ideas were presented by the InnoForESt team as short inputs; key insights were shared as handouts. Each innovation idea was supported by a 5 min. presentation of regional and thematic ‘experts’. Three young and active persons were selected after the focus-group discussions to fulfil this task. Overall, it worked quite well. The idea of integrating persons external to the InnoForESt project has turned out very positive. Especially the input of Veronika Müller about experiences made with the platform building process ‘Werkraum Vorarlberg’ has proven to stimulate the following group discussion.

4.1.7 Stakeholder interactions

Most participants, engaged quite actively in the group and plenary discussions. Longer break with dining options also provided opportunity to exchange between stakeholders, but also between stakeholders and members of the IR team.

Group discussions indeed enabled and encouraged all participants to exchange perspectives and to ‘voice opinions’. Yet, quite some ‘loss of information (depth/detail) when reporting essentials from topic tables back to the plenary).

In general, plenary discussions took place in a civilized manner and in an ‘open atmosphere’, yet with some (slightly) provocative statements that, however, did not dominate or ‘hijack’ the overall discussion and its constructive and forward-looking notion.

Potentially problematic interactions – noted by Ewert (UT) (on substantial grounds, not so much personal characteristics):

  • Economy-ecology tension: forest owners fear unjustified interventions into their work and livelihood by nature protection or sprawling educational visits.
  • Changing all kinds of existing processes: We need to avoid that our activities change their existing and proven processes. That could feel like an “uncalled-for intervention”. We need to prepare the conditions under which they can change/adapt/innovate their product and processes themselves (notion of meta-governance).
  • The role of designers: the presence of designers may be felt as alien and uncomfortable. Their value needs to become self-evident. Who of the woodworkers has already worked with designers? What were their experiences? How can their presence be made productive?

4.1.8 Lessons learnt

  1. For the IR:
  • Innovation ideas presented have shown to be important points of departure for stakeholders for thinking about and discussing innovation and collaboration in the wood and forest value chain and beyond – it has concrete and practical ‘touch’ that many of the stakeholders can relate to.
  • There are hardly any stakeholders who seem to be exclusively interested in one of the presented innovation ideas. Instead, most stakeholders located themselves in the ‘overlapping areas’ between two of the innovation ideas, or even in the ‘overlapping area’ between all three ideas (see Graph X).
  • At least equally important – or even more important – for most stakeholders seems to be the building of a ‘platform’ as new and innovative mode of interaction that a) allows to draw on the existing activities and experiences in the field by a broad range of stakeholders within the wood-forest value chain (and beyond), b) facilitates systematic and relatively frequent exchange, c) might support the development of trust among larger groups of stakeholders and eventually practical projects and activities providing commercial or other added-value for the stakeholders, d) might contribute to supporting/(further) developing a regional identity.
  • Both elements, content/ concrete innovation ideas and platform development (organizational or even legal structure, digital and physical features, etc.) need to be pursued in parallel or – if possible – in an integrated manner.
  • There is some sort of ‘thirst’ on taking stock of and learning from success and failure of relevant regional activities/projects, but also from those beyond Eisenwurzen (e.g., Vorarlberg, but even from international examples). Thus, consolidating existing regional knowledge in a systematic way (and facilitating exchange between stakeholders for that purpose) as well as ‘importing’ knowledge and inspiration should feature prominently.
  1. For the InnoForESt project:
  • Rather high effort for talking with a broad range of regional stakeholders (in particular, semi-structured interviews in the context of the stakeholder analysis and the Governance system assessment, but also the frequent and systematic communication by phone with individual stakeholders) really paid off: it seems that stakeholder get the impression that the IR team is really interested in (understanding) their challenges and ideas and to let those guide the process and development of the innovation ideas. To varying extent, stakeholders start to develop ‘trust’ to the IR team.
  • Using smaller focus groups (as an intermediate step before or between CINA workshops) to learn more about the respective innovation ideas and the thoughts of a broader range of regional stakeholders was important to make sure that identified innovation ideas are sufficiently attractive and relevant for stakeholders. The focus groups may have also contributed to the rather high outcome in terms of participants at the first CINA workshop.
  • Sometimes, there is only a fine line between the IR team’s intention to get the process going and to ‘steer it in a way’ to keep the process alive, and to be too prescriptive or dominant. Shifting perceived and actual ownership of the innovation process and the platform to the stakeholders is likely to be a challenge. Concretizing the physical and digital elements of the platform will be important and perhaps decisive for this.

4.1.9 Reflection

Factor reconfiguration

Difficult to say at this stage, not the least because there are different innovation ideas (still) on the table each depending on their own – yet, partly overlapping – sets of contextual factors (e.g., the legal situation – and changes thereof – might be very important for pursuing the idea of mobile wooden houses for touristic purposes in the National parks; capacity problems ‘too much work’ on part of many carpenters limit feasibility and attractiveness of some of the innovation ideas depending on wood processing). Additionally, the latest innovation idea (platform) has not been discussed sufficiently to contribute with further details on factor reconfiguration. Further, contextual factors are certainly also relevant for discussion on the organizational or even legal form of the platform and future collaboration. Yet, here we are only very much at the beginning of exploring and (pre-)selecting options – this will be one core topic of the 2nd CINA workshop which is planned for 16 May 2019. Discussions on what actually the prototype is are still ongoing: likely the platform as means of collaboration/exchange but incorporating several ‘practical’ innovation ideas.

Governance modes

See 4.1.9 on organizational and other issues around the establishment of the innovation platform.

5 Type 2 workshop(s): Prototype assessment

5.1 Prototype workshop 1

5.1.1 Scenarios used

All three original innovation ideas were briefly presented again and latest developments presented and/or identified during the discussion. They include:

Innovation idea 1 ‘Furniture, Design & Region’

  • Robert Kurzmann from the HTL 1 Building and Design, Linz, suggested a competition for regional furniture design ‘Eisenwurzen’ in the winter term 2019/20 or later.
  • Robert Kurzmann from the HTL 1 Building and Design, Linz, suggested to encourage a diploma thesis about furniture, design and region.
  • MHC/Gabriel Gruber is preparing a ‘digital furniture cluster’: digitalisation would be possible in all processes of furniture making: planning, production, logistics, distribution. Thus, potential customers can configure furniture online and could use the ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ to identify carpenters in the region can produce it for them.

Innovation idea 2 ‘Mobile wooden houses & tourism’

  • For the diploma thesis of a student (of Veronika Müller, University of Art, Linz, course ‘Überholz’) the carpentry Markus Wolfthaler was contacted on ‘Tiny houses and wall thickness’.
  • Markus Wolfthaler (carpentry) reports a great demand for so-called ‘Tiny houses’ (see group work 3).

Innovation idea 3 ‘Experiencing Forests & Wood’

  • No update – see presentation by Martin Riesenhuber at first CINA workshop.

Based on the results of the first CINA workshops and subsequent individual discussions with regional stakeholders as well as in the IR team, it was decided to frame the attempts to establish an ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ as a fourth innovation idea/’scenario’. However, it aims at integrating the other more content-/topic-related innovation ideas, rather than be an alternative or substitute to them. See also the respective discussion on the Innovation Platform in one smaller group at the second CINA workshop.

Innovation idea 4

Establishing Innovation-Platform

Forest-Wood

  • What is the innovation for?

The ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ is expected to make better use of the value of forests and forest ecosystem services in the Eisenwurzen region. The focus is on the sustainable provision and use of forest ecosystem services, which are promoted, on the one hand, by innovations in the regional value creation for forests and wood. On the other hand, this supports a conscious perception and increased appreciation of forests, forestry and wood in society.

The aim is to establish a network of innovative cooperation in order to combine forest, forestry and wood resources with improved and sustainable benefits for the region and the people living and working there. In this way, regional value chains for wood and wood products are expanded and new ones created. Local handicrafts are thereby promoted and future-oriented, sustainable solutions for forestry are made possible. New synergies with sectors such as tourism or forest-related education can be expected.

The ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ provides the necessary framework for direct exchange, networking, and cross-sector cooperation. The exchange is made possible both through personal meetings and workshops and through a digital platform. In this way, concrete innovation ideas can be brought together, exchanged and discussed at regular intervals.

  • What has happened so far?

Within the InnoForESt project, the potentials, opportunities, and obstacles for three innovation ideas were initially explored and discussed with regional stakeholders via interviews and focus group discussions:

  • Furniture, Design & Region;
  • Mobile wooden houses & tourism;
  • Experiencing forests & wood

In a first workshop, these innovation ideas were discussed with a large number of stakeholders from different fields of work in the Eisenwurzen region. Some participants saw great potential for their own companies and regional development, with the intention to continue working on one or more of these innovation ideas. It was also shown that a stronger networking and cooperation between the actors of the forest-wood value chain is considered to be particularly important for a successful implementation of innovative projects.

  • Who is involved?

National parks (Kalkalpen and Gesäuse), forest enterprises, forest management, forest education/forest schools, sawmills, timber merchants, joineries, timber construction companies, district guilds, SPES Future Academy, MHC Upper Austria, Pro-Holz, municipalities with mayors, Chamber of Agriculture, Chamber of Commerce, Regional Forum Steyr-Kirchdorf and LEADER associations, agricultural school, tourism associations of the districts, mobility providers, other handicraft enterprises, Climate and Energy Model Region Pyhrn-Priel and Traun4tler Alpenvorland, the climate protection-forest association, creative entrepreneurs, design experts, universities with a focus on design and timber construction.

  • What opportunities and obstacles are emerging?

Many stakeholders from the region show great interest in working together more intensively both on concrete innovation projects and as a network. Although there are already numerous initiatives and experiences in the region in the fields of wood processing, timber construction, near-natural forest management, sustainable provision of ecosystem services and forest-related education, their own experiences are often not shared enough with others. Successful projects do not automatically lead to repetition, and ‘setbacks’ cannot be absorbed in further attempts. Many people often feel like ‘lone fighters’ here. At the same time, cross-industry exchange is perceived as particularly profitable.

A platform can show what is already happening in the region, make successful ‘lighthouse’ projects more visible, highlight good ideas and offer opportunities to exchange specific know-how with others. A platform creates space for new contacts, gathering of experience, building of trust, and prepares the ground for cooperation and innovation.

A platform supports individuals in their activities, creates a common identity and can make demands on politicians and obtain funding. Together, networking is successful in strengthening regional cooperation and promoting an awareness of forests and wood in one of the most densely forested regions of Austria.

Obstacles are, for example, the long transport routes between the provinces/federal states and central places in the region, which often makes personal exchange difficult. Since the network ultimately lives from the involvement and commitment of the individual actors their often-limited time resources presents the platform with further challenges. Furthermore, questions of intellectual and other property rights remain unresolved.

  • Where does the future lie?

The digital platform can be used to:

  • show what is happening with regard to local crafts and the sustainable use of forests, wood and timber resources in the region. Lighthouse projects and joint actions to promote regional forest-wood value chains are to be made accessible online and presented in an attractive way.
  • to better communicate from the region to the outside world and increase its visibility.
  • to establish contacts, promote direct exchange, and build a network of increased cross-sector cooperation.
  • to present information on the history, the origin, and the objectives of the ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ as well as on current innovation ideas and analyses of potentials.
  • to announce further meetings and workshops as well as interesting external events.
  • to possibly provide an additional (password protected) area for members of the platform for internal communication.

Together with the workshop participants, it is necessary to clarify which tasks and objectives the ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ should pursue, which processes should be supported and how, and – subsequently – which form of organization the platform should take.

With regard to the latter point, the following organizational forms have already been explored which the ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ could adopt:

  1. Irregular meetings in loose rounds promote exchange, networking, and cooperation; sector associations and chambers already existing and active in the region take over the coordination for networking meetings and project promotion.
  2. A joint declaration of principles, a Memorandum of Understanding or a commitment to regional timber lays the foundation for cooperation. Signatories are entitled to use and vote for a specific logo or trademark.
  3. The members of the ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ found/establish an association with statutes, which regulates the cooperation, decision-making, distribution of tasks, and exchange of information as well as the protection of intellectual property rights. This association would have the goal of promoting innovations for sustainable, regional value creation for forests and wood.
  4. Likewise, a cooperative or cooperative structure would also be a good way to integrate active members and interested parties and to promote or develop specific innovation ideas.

5.1.2 Setting

The second CINA Workshop was held at the Technology and Service Centre (TDZ) Enns valley in Reichraming. The location was chosen, on the one hand, to better reach potential stakeholders from the province of Styria and, on the other hand, to support the Enns valley region affected by major restructuring. The workshop activities were held in a large seminar room, with light atmosphere through bright colored wood and large windows. The buffet was located in the entrance area of the center.

Table 7: Workshop Program Prototype Workshop Reichraming.
Time Agenda item Presenter/Moderator
14:00 Welcome and short presentation of InnoForESt Wolfgang
14:05 Introduction to workshop
Housekeeping (e.g., Participation board)
Eva
14:10 ARGE s´Hoiz
(10 min. presentation, 10 min. discussion)
Gabriel Gruber
14:30 What can we learn from ARGE s’Hoiz approach? Eva
14:45 Round of introduction: Name, position at Forest-Wood Value chain, favorite tree/wood species Eva
15:00 Reports on Innovation ideas 1-3   What are options for participation? Jutta, Michael, Eva
15:15 Presentation of Innovation idea 4 (Platform organization) Jutta, Michael
15:25 Discussion and feedback to platform organization (Goals and benefits for participants, opportunities and obstacles, process organization, formal structures) Eva
15:55 Coffee break
16:20 Further development of the various networking ideas:
– ‘Innovation platform Forest-Wood’
– Region + common identity + logo/symbol
– Tiny Houses
Group work
17:00 Presentation of group results and discussion Eva
17:15 Planned Activities
– Excursion Vorarlberg (September 2019?)
– InnoForESt Consortium Assembly + regional excursion
– Innovation Day Forest & Wood (November 2019)
Wolfgang
17:30 Outlook / Feedback forms / Closing (Participation board) Eva & Wolfgang
17:45 End Wolfgang

5.1.3 Participants

List of Participants:

  1. Franz Achathaler (Agricultural technical school Schlierbach, teaching subject: forestry)
  2. Helmut Auer (Planungswerkstatt Ennstal/Planning workshop Enns valey)
  3. Felix Fößleitner (LEADER Region Nationalpark Kalkalpen, LAG-Manager)
  4. Martin Großauer (Joinery Grossalber)
  5. Gabriel Gruber (MHC Linz, ARGE s’Hoiz Sauwald)
  6. Georg Habacher (Model region for climate and energy ‘Pyhrn-Priel’)
  7. Josef Lumplecker (Lumacon)
  8. Veronika Ploner (State chamber of agriculture Upper-Austria)
  9. Gerald Putz (Forest administration Weyer)
  10. Werner Ratzberger (Joinery Ratzberger Reichraming)
  11. Franz Reiterer (Engineering office for forestry)
  12. Stefan Schimpl (Tourism association Almtal)
  13. Markus Schlöglhofer (Firewood association)
  14. Norbert Schmidthaler (Stovewood supplier)
  15. Thomas Watzl (Joinery Watzl)
  16. Andreas Weissensteiner (Weissensteiner company – forest management and consultancy, Bergholz Admont)
  17. Fritz Wolf (Forest-related education, Waldschule Almtal)
  18. Markus Wolfthaler (Carpentry & Timber construction enterprise, managing director)
  19. Josef Wolfthaler (LEADER Region Traun4tler Alpenvorland, LAG-Manager)
  20. Herbert Wölger (Gesäuse National Park, managing director)

Project participants:

  1. Peter Stegmaier (University of Twente, NL)
  2. Michael Klingler (University of Innsbruck)
  3. Jutta Kister (University of Innsbruck)
  4. Wolfgang Baaske (STUDIA Schlierbach)
  5. Eva Seebacher (STUDIA Schlierbach)
  6. Hannah Politor (STUDIA Schlierbach)
  7. Carolin Meier (FVA Forest Research Institute Baden-Württemberg)
  8. Veronika Gaube (Institute of Social Ecology, University of Applied Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna)

Excused participants:

  1. Franz Bammer (Timber construction enterprise Holzbau Bammer)
  2. Regina Buchriegler (Kalkalpen National Park)
  3. Klaus Gassner (Carpentry Gassner)
  4. Alexander Gebeshuber (Designer)
  5. Stephan Hölzl (MHC – Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria)
  6. Christa Öhlinger-Brandner (Project manager Waldness)
  7. Christian Schleyer (University of Innsbruck) – India
  8. Franz Schmeißl (Baumfreund)
  9. Gabriel Schwarzmann (ProHolz Upper Austria)

We noticed, not very surprisingly, that more stakeholders from Enns valley attended the workshop, probably due to the closer location of the workshop. In turn, however, there were fewer regional stakeholders that had attended events close to ‘Schlierbach’ – probably due to the now rather ‘remote’ location of the workshop. Further, still not many forest owners attended the workshop. In a call previous to the workshop, a forest worker complained about the low income situation threatening his enterprise as forest owners postpone assignments for forest management work orders due to low wood prices. Felix Fößleitner presented his successor Josef Wolfthaler in the LEADER Manager position. Josef Lumplecker joined for the first time and offered his large experience in business consultancy and setting up innovative businesses to the network.

5.1.4 Key thematic findings

In general, on the one hand, we sensed a greater skepticism about the project’s/platforms sustainability – which may be a consequence of the ‘euphoria’ of the first CINA workshop. Some statements in the plenary discussions were aimed at what happens after the project or who has the capacities to continue or want to continue the platform’s (further) development (Threshold 1). This was accompanied by the ‘desire for a concrete benefit’. Whether the design of an overarching platform or the implementation of individual concrete innovation ideas should be the next step was openly discussed (Threshold 2).

On the other hand, we asked key questions in the course of the workshop: What is the overarching idea? What can be made of concrete innovation ideas like ‘Tiny Houses’? What role does regional identity play or can we agree on a common denominator in this question (e.g., with regard to regional branding)? Further, the workshop participants were informed about possible forms of organization of the platform (e.g., cooperatives) for the first time.

A first reflection shows: Without first consolidating a common understanding of the general objectives and ideas of the project/platform among interested regional stakeholders/potential members of the platform, we do not need to worry about the organizational form of the platform.

For the success of any of the innovation ideas, the importance of a company as a co-sponsor was underlined several times. LEADER projects can be initiated, but a strong partner company or cooperation partner is indispensable. Felix Fößleitner remarked that potential investors are missing in the project and have to be integrated (Threshold 3).

It should be noted that the use of regional wood for ‘Tiny House’ production does not seem essential. This was seen critically from the InnoForESt project point of view. In this context, Carolin Maier and Wolfgang Baaske were quite surprised that in the Tiny-House-specific small group discussion the option of labelling the use of regional wood in some form was conceivable even if parts of the construction are made of imported wood (Threshold 4). Comment Christian Schleyer: “…it seems significant for many regional stakeholders, whether something like this (project/idea) ‘pays off’ or not. It may be that, given the currently assumed costs and revenues, it is only considered profitable to produce with cheaper (imported) wood; or one may be skeptical as to whether the ‘only domestic wood’ label will actually generate higher demand or make higher prices acceptable to customers. If interpreted in a negative way, this can also be simply ‘greed’ or the pursuit of maximum profit without consideration of sustainability or the larger regional pictures. The question is whether such an approach would only be short-term and whether the InnoForESt can/should continue to support it“.

Administrative and political-bureaucratic problems make the implementation of pilot projects very difficult (Threshold 5). Wolfgang Baaske sees a valuable strategy in the promotional image cultivation of regional wood products – instead of a confrontational debate – which is specifically aimed at mayors to facilitate implementation at the local level. According to Peter Stegmaier, this goes hand in hand with political, active work to form a lobby, which brings together commercial players, for example, and makes them visible as a group that belongs together. An agreement on key principles of the platform (Memorandum of Understanding), which would be signed by the participants, must be drawn up for this purpose.

Franz Reiterer repeatedly commented that actors from the forestry sector do not feel sufficiently addressed by the project, or at least not enough – according to Carolin Maier, they are rather disconnected from the existing debates on the innovation ideas that have been developed so far (as well as from forest-related education). Innovative, forward-looking ideas for strengthening the ‘common good’ and forestry are missing (Threshold 6). The motto “We do something with nature for the community” could be taken up by mayors or even used as a sales argument. The importance of forests for the protection of communities (rockfall, landslides, etc.) or the importance of forestry work for the benefit of the community is generally not discussed enough.

Even the desire to promote regional timber production does not seem to be a priority for the participating stakeholders (Threshold 7). In view of the fact that small-scale sawmills are increasingly closing down, the potential of a regional value chain is reduced. The integration of the ecosystem service idea could significantly strengthen the symbiosis of marketing a product and community building – for example, between craftsmen – and expand the so far ‘limited’ perception of a regional value chain. As a result, jobs could be generated, migration dynamics might be weakened – the public sector can profit from this innovative idea!

5.1.5 Detailed thematic findings

At the second CINA workshop, not all (now four) scenarios or innovation ideas were discussed in detail. Three smaller breakout groups focused on a) ‘Establishing an Innovation Platform Forests-Wood’ (innovation idea 4), b) ‘Tiny Houses’ (innovation idea 2), and c) ‘Region, Common identity, Logo/symbol’.

a) ‘Establishing an Innovation Platform Forests-Wood’

Main questions addressed: How to proceed with the platform? How do we organize ourselves? What are the next steps?

In the first small breakout group, there was a discussion on necessary steps in the coming period to develop further the networking platform. The aim should be that after the end of the InnoForESt project, the platform will continue to exist as a means/tool where actors from different sectors and professional fields as well as across the regional districts can exchange and network. Further, innovative project ideas could be developed and implemented through or facilitated by the platform/network.

We conclude that there is currently no existing organization or institution that can represent all these objectives; rather, existing organizations should actively participate and contribute to the networking (e.g., MHC, ProHolz, Chambers of Commerce and Chambers of Agriculture of the districts and federal states).

Two feasible ways are conceivable and sensible:

  1. Development of a written agreement on main principles/objections (Memorandum of Understanding)

A draft of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) could be written in a smaller working group, then discussed with all workshop participants and other interested regional stakeholders and later jointly signed. Such a MoU will describe the concrete purpose, goal, and benefits of the network and will call for a commitment.

From an InnoForESt perspective, it is important that all parts of the value chain based on forest and wood are approached in a cross-sectoral, balanced and fair way. It has to be shown that products emerging from the platform are linked to ALL ecosystem services. Innovative uses need to be used to create added value, for example, through tourism, hunting, handicrafts, etc. – but by being ‘innovative’ we do not only mean approaches for selling (more) wood. Further, networking with other European regions – during the InnoForESt project but also beyond – is important.

Product innovations and products that ‘grow out of the platform’ should reflect the region. Important elements of the region are: Wood, iron and water (a houseboat?). Raw materials, production, individual components, and compounds should originate from the region; and traditional iron compounds can also be taken up again. This creates a ‘regional identity design’. Yet, there is not the ‘one’ Eisenwurzen design. With such a design, ‘diversity’ is placed in the foreground.

  1. Organization of the networking meetings in a fixed and formal/legal organizational form

This was considered as being too early by some workshop participants. For this reason, more work should first be done on concrete innovation ideas and their elaboration and implementation. With a concrete project in mind, the formal / legal structure of the networking group would then be determined accordingly. However, this still takes time. In due course, for example, it must be arranged that ‘someone’ invites to annual networking meetings. Who this will be and in what form should be clarified by the end of the InnoForESt project.

The first step now is to find out which concrete innovation idea should be worked on first. The innovation idea should be chosen that can easily be realized soon. Here, the general opinion is that, first, forest-related education (“making forests experienceable”) can be realized rather quickly; and this was considered as important by everyone. Yet, forest-related education requires proper financing options. Second, the group participants are of the opinion that a ‘Tiny House’ prototype seems feasible. Crowdfunding in the region for a ‘pilot house’ was suggested as a financing option. Such a pilot house, equipped with furniture and forest-related products from the region, can then be set up as ‘showcase’ of the ‘Innovation Platform Forests-Wood’ in places where we are seen as a platform. With this, money can be raised; places such as Admont, the Landesgartenschau, and other events in and around the region are suitable. The pilot ‘Tiny-House’ would show that we can work together.

Further financing possibilities:

  • There is also the possibility of applying for a follow-up project focussing on certain aspects or innovation ideas or with a larger project idea in due course.
  • ‘Climate change adaptation regions’ are currently being created. It is unclear whether these can also be set up on a cross-federal state basis. At present, they are – as it seems – planned more like ‘energy model regions’; however, they have not yet been formed for Upper Austria. Yet, many of the ideas could possibly be implemented, promoted and developed here (https://klar-anpassungsregionen.at/).

b) Region, Common identity, and logo/symbol

The second small breakout group dealt with the overarching theme ‘Region + Common Identity’ and discussed the following main questions: When we speak of a common region, what name can we agree on? What is considered to be identity-giving for our region? Is there a symbol that creates identity and that could act as a logo to be used in a marketing strategy?

‘Eisenwurzen’ as a regional concept is very broadly defined and does not create identity for the group participants (this also applies to ‘Eisenstraße’ or ‘Traunviertel’). Although the Eisenwurzen, as a regional definition is less negatively connotated today, we find ourselves in a “witches’ cauldron” (Felix Fößleitner), or rather a pandemonium filled with heated debates as far as regional identity is concerned.

The National Park region Kalkalpen was mentioned as an alternative. Spatially, the national park is located in the ‘middle’ between Kirchdorf and Ennstal. On the one hand, some participants find the added value of this “luxury object” World Heritage Site not sufficiently exploited. On the other hand, the National Park debate contradicts the interests of the wood extracting and processing interest groups.

It is the aim of this debate to make the origin of the region visible. The regional origin should be a (certified) quality criterion for the wood products produced. “The consumer should know that the wood does not come from Siberia, but from the region.” argues the local carpenter Thomas Watzl in this regard.

A discreet logo as a common regional identity symbol would be good in principle. When asked whether a specific tree or wood species could fulfil this aim, reference was made to the regionally rich occurrence of beech on the one hand, but also to the danger of massive (potential) exploitation (see Swiss stone pine/Zirbe – now a protected tree species). On the other hand, carpenters appreciate the variety and not individual woods.

Franz Reiterer criticizes the lack of importance of forestry and the low participation of forest owners in the project. Further networking in this area is urgently needed. The forest must not be reduced to its wood-supplying function – forestry fulfils central tasks for the protection of society (e.g., soil and water conservation, biodiversity).

c) ‘Tiny Houses’

Core of the idea/aspects discussed:

  • Lightweight, expandable, age-appropriate…
  • Construction of residential buildings, hotels, offices, schools
  • Camping sites
  • Static requirement
  • Modular construction
    • Glued wood
    • Cross laminated timber board
      • Cut to size
      • Furniture manufacturer
      • Holzbau (joinery) puts it together
      • Installers, building technicians – Floor
    • Bolt construction
      • Frame
      • ash, beech
  • ‘Holzheim’

What goals are we pursuing?

  • High regional wood content
  • High regional added value in crafts
  • Partner network
  • Planning tool for external sales staff
  • House/ apartment/flat – repetition -> profitability < capacity utilization of the companies
  • Win building committee (Bauausschuss), build image, mayors
  • Conserve soil, rent out and lease the field
  • Optimization product
  • Marketing
  • USP Distinctness

5.1.6 Process

Based on the discussions of first drafts of the workshop schedule in the weeks before, the detailed schedule of the workshop was discussed again together on the evening before and in the morning of the workshop day and finally adjusted. In general, it was noted that the organization and implementation planning was less detailed than for the first CINA-Workshop.

We have noticed that ‘the introduction’ must be shorter and faster, so that we can move relatively quickly into the plenary session; and that it is important to reserve enough time at the end for discussion. Seating in the first part was too much like ‘frontal teaching’. The circular form chosen later in the small groups and in the subsequent plenum discussion was much more constructive/communicative and helpful for the discussion.

In future workshops, summaries from the small groups should be presented by the participants themselves and not by members of the IR team; some participants would probably be very happy to do so. The same could be applied to the presentations of innovation ideas (e.g., Markus Wolfthaler reports on past and new developments with respect to the innovation idea ‘Tiny Houses’ – coordinated with the IR team prior to the workshop). This would mean that the IR team could act less ‘frontally’ and involve the participants more in the actual process of forming the ‘platform’.

There was too little time for discussions in the plenary. There were some interesting requests to speak already during the presentation of the innovation ideas, but we had to put off most of them and asked them to raise them the plenary discussion after the group phase. It was a pity to ‘stifle’ these requests to speak. In those moments, one had the feeling that some of the participants were eager to discuss actively and to listen less – especially those who had already been present at previous events.

A ‘dichotomy’ or split among the workshop participants was clearly noticeable: Those who heard about InnoForESt for the first time, and therefore took longer to get into the debate and those who wanted to discuss ‘straight forward’.

It was a pity that Gabriel Gruber’s exciting success story had to be placed in the beginning (since he needed to leave the workshop early) and the presentation of our project or the status quo only took place afterwards. In addition, his presentation took 30 minutes longer, which upset the workshop schedule from the beginning. In comparison, at the first CINA Workshop, Veronika Müller had managed to cushion a moment of the workshop that was just as difficult at the time and even conjured up a ‘mood of departure’ through her motivating presentation. Everyone present was hooked on the idea of getting something up and running together. Thus, there is the question of the ‘right’ timing and scope/length of external input!

5.1.7 Stakeholder interactions

It was noticeable that some of the participants who had already attended InnoForESt workshops or other events on a regular basis pushed forward with the activities. At the same time, there were new participants who needed some time to familiarize themselves with the project status. Thus, there were ‘two speeds’ in the group of participants. The contributions of the ‘new’ participants coincided several times with the topics already discussed at the previous meetings. Those who had been participating for a longer time reacted to this with reactions that showed that they did not necessarily want to spend much time on repetition. From this, we in the IR team, have concluded that it was good to integrate participants from the Enns Valley (by means of the Reichraming location), but that it is no longer necessary to be ‘so open’ in the future, i.e. to increase the spatial reach for recruiting/ acquiring new participants . New participants should only be added if they have been personally informed in advance about the project/platform progress so far.

This situation may also have been reinforced by the fact that the participants who have already been working together for a longer period of time have expressed more explicitly their wish to proceed more concretely with concrete projects and platform building.

Markus Wolfthaler (Carpentry & Timber construction enterprise, managing director) made a happy impression at the end of the meeting. He ‘placed’ his innovation idea well and was able to use the workshop to discuss the project and to strengthen or expand his network (inclusion of Josef Lumplecker (Lumacon)).

5.1.8 Lessons learnt

  1. For the IR:
  • First, we have to send the workshop results and the innovation idea 4 (‘Establishing the ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ to ALL workshop participants as soon as possible; i.e. also to those who participated in the first CINA workshop or in any of the focus groups and to those who wanted to come to the second CINA workshop but were unable to (e.g., all those who went to the award ceremony for the timber construction prize).
  • Second, we need to schedule the next networking meetings in smaller groups soon (in 4-6 weeks). We have to ‘keep the ball rolling’ so that we do not ‘lose’ anyone. At the same time, this approach prevents that the – sometimes ‘meagre’ – résumé of the second CINA workshop solidifies; we rather take this second CINA workshop as an intermediate step.
  • Third, from now on we must aim at a stronger individual commitment or a more ‘binding’ commitment of the workshop participants and regional stakeholders in general.
  • For this purpose, a selected, representative core group of particularly active/motivated regional stakeholders should be invited to a next meeting/workshop. These stakeholders should have an eye on the platform context – the individual innovation ideas are interdependent and interlinked – and develop, provide, and communicate an overarching meaning to the innovation platform. Key features and elements of the innovation platform are to be discussed together and a template is to be worked out – what is it all about? What is the purpose of this platform? How do we proceed further? (Reference to Herbert Wölger at the end of the workshop). In this way, the short-, medium-, and long-term benefits of the innovation platform should become more visible, but at the same time underline the status of an ‘experimental’ pilot project – which in turn offers room for mistakes or learning from mistakes.
  • The ‘Task Force’ proposed by Wolfgang Baaske and Eva Seebacher in this context (debriefing Skype conversation 20. May 2019) should pursue concrete innovation ideas and aim to bring together committed and interested stakeholders from the region. The ‘Tiny-House’ idea, for example, already has a concrete reference person: Markus Wolfthaler, if not even a small project lead.
  • Fourth, we need to develop a kind of a ‘business plan’ for the platform that documents who does what and to what extent. The central issue here is the distribution of responsibilities and, if successful, potential profits. Are municipal contributions sufficiently included?
  • Fifth, the value chain concept should be expanded to include regulating and cultural ecosystem services. It should not be exclusively associated with economic and operational functions (provisioning services).
  • Sixth, the September 2019 date proposed by Veronika Müller for the Vorarlberg excursion would actually be better. Such an excursion can have a strong identity-building effect. If this does not happen until spring 2020, we will lose valuable months and momentum. Moreover, a joint, mobilizing initiative prior to the InnoForEST meeting in October 2019 would be welcome.

All external inputs so far have been very constructive, enriching and inspiring for all participants. For the next workshops, however, we should better consider the question of timing and scope of external input.

In view of the InnoForESt project background and the importance of ecosystem services, further stakeholders from the forest sector in particular need to be invited. Yet, for this they need a stronger motivation to come. It is important to identify and use respective trigger points for this target group. In this respect, local politicians should also be invited and encouraged to come.

Carolin Maier could give a short input at the next CINA workshop on the different values of forests, the importance of ecosystem services (e.g., protection and recreation function for communities) beyond provisioning services, and potential links with regard to regional – not exclusively economic, operational – value chains (reference to Davos, Switzerland; regional examples in Austria should be identified).

A debriefing with Markus Wolfthaler and Josef Lumpelecker has to take place soon in order to ascertain their general interest in continuing working with InnoForESt. Perhaps they see the CINA workshops rather as a space for collecting ideas without wanting to discuss further details on the implementation of the innovation idea in this group. In this context, it is also necessary to ask whether the contact to Veronika Müller was established for the preparation of a master’s thesis on wall thickness at ‘Tiny Houses’.

External or invited experts (such as Veronika Müller or Gabriel Gruber) should also share their wealth of experience from the successful projects (Werkraum Bregenzerwald, ARGE s’HOIZ) within the InnoForESt community (e.g., in the form of parallel sessions at the InnoForESt Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach in October 2019). Cross-regional examples would make a very valuable contribution with respect to upscaling.

  1. For the entire project:
  • External inputs with practical and project-related experience have proven to be very stimulating in order to increase the stakeholders’ interest and motivation to actively participate. This tactic also helps to level the communication between science and practice. After these inputs, it is crucial that there is sufficient space for discussion in order to further activate and connect with other stakeholders.
  • The regular participation of a significant number of stakeholders strengthens the group dynamics. However, the high turnover of new workshop participants is a barrier because too much time is lost in the necessary introduction phases to get ‘new’ participants up to speed with the project’s objectives and previous developments/discussions.
  • While regional stakeholders cherish the platform idea and the medium- und long-term advantages that an involvement brings, they also frequently highlight the importance of ‘concrete, practical’ and quickly implementable innovations, often closely linked to ‘product’ innovations.
  • The actual shape of a feasible, accepted, and sustainable organizational form of the platform and thus the ‘long-term stability/sustainability’ of the platform beyond InnoForESt is a recurring and crucial issue. Often also related to the question of the right size of the ‘catchment’ area of participants – not too large, not too small.

5.1.9 Reflection

Factor reconfiguration

Given the (still) broad range of Innovation ideas discussed and pursed to varying extents and different intensities quite a few factors influencing the development of a prototype/of prototypes and its/their future implementation. As overarching issues were mentioned various administrative and political-bureaucratic problems making the implementation of (yet to be developed) pilot projects very difficult. Similarly, the lack of external funding (opportunities) – private or public – is perceived as an obstacle. Here, potential external investors would need to be identified and integrated in the Platform activities. Investments of individual stakeholders currently represented in the Innovation Platform seem unlikely given the current – early – stage of ‘project/innovation idea’ development and the lack of sufficiently detailed and convincing business plans. This is exacerbated by a perceived low income situation on part of forest workers since forest owners stall activities due to low wood prices.

Another – more platform-internal – factor discussed critically was the so far missing common understanding about the general objectives and guiding idea(s) of the Innovation Platform. Here, the development and/or making use of a regional identity that could manifest itself, among others, in a region-specific logo or label could be a crystallization point. This is closely linked to the discussion about potential organizational options of the Innovation Platform in order to foster cooperation in a sustainable way and with a long-term perspective (see Governance modes below). Further, the (spatial) range of stakeholders to be included in the Platform is an issue: while it, in general, is perceived as positive to have a large network with many stakeholders involved, not the least the change in location of the workshop showed that it is difficult to cover a large spatial area due to practical restrictions for networking (topography, long travelling distances) but also a greater heterogeneity of stakeholder interests and political-administrative contexts.

Further, while the use of regional wood in potential pilot projects was welcomed, it seemed that some stakeholders were somewhat comfortable to use also – at least partly – imported wood. In a similar way, the sustainable use of forests and the fostering of FES beyond provisioning services was often only an implicit part of the discussion (e.g., with respect to forest education, forest-related tourism).

Governance modes

Organizational issues of a future Innovation Platform Forest-Wood were key elements of the workshop agenda. For that purpose, a fourth Innovation Idea including first broad options for legal forms as well as ideas for a digital platform was prepared, presented, and discussed. The presentation by Gabriel Gruber on ARGE s’Hoiz was intended to foster the discussion. While the importance of a ‘Platform’ and networking along the value chain Forest-Wood was mostly shared, there was hardly any discussion concretizing or addressing details (pros and cons) of specific governance modes. Among others, this had to do with a lack of a common understanding about objectives and ways to proceed. Further, currently no existing organization or individual stakeholder appears to be a ‘natural’ AND willing candidate for leading the Platform activities in the future. Rather, it was concluded that all current stakeholders and organizations should actively participate and contribute to the networking. Most concretely, the idea of developing a ‘Memorandum of Understanding Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ was ventilated.

Ideas for a digital platform were conceptually presented, yet the real value added and practical use was perceived as depending on the actual content to be shared here and the overall objectives and composition of the ‘physical’ Innovation Platform.

6 Type 3 workshop(s): Roadmapping

6.1 Roadmapping workshop 1

6.1.1 Scenarios used

Since the focus of the third CINA workshop was on identifying and discussing various options for a ‘sustainable’ organizational form of the ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ (innovation idea 4), three ‘sub-scenarios’ were prepared and elaborated on by UIBK in the form of brief fact sheets that were distributed to participants during the workshop. The three organization options were Work Group/Arbeitsgemeinschaft (ARGE), Association, and Cooperative.

FACT SHEET: Work Group (ARGE)

Purpose: A work group (ARGE) is the association of at least two natural or legal persons in the legal form of a civil law partnership (GesBR) for the joint execution of a project. A work group does not have its own legal personality and is not registered in the commercial register.

Formation: A partnership agreement determines the type of contributions. ARGE members only contribute their labor. No share capital is required for the foundation, but can be contributed. The formation is not subject to any formal requirements, but it is recommended to draw up a written partnership agreement.

Bodies and acting persons: The management is basically shared by all partners. The principle of the sole management and representation authority of each shareholder applies.

Profit: The distribution of profits can be freely determined in the partnership agreement. In the absence of a contractual arrangement, the law provides for profit and loss distribution in proportion to the contributions made by the shareholders.

Liability: In the event of a claim, all members of a work group (ARGE) are jointly liable (towards third parties) according to the work group contract. In the internal relationship between the ARGE members, however, only the member who has provided the service is liable. This member must indemnify the other ARGE members (right of recourse of the other ARGE members)

Rights:

  • Fee for consulting services according to ARGE contract (according to performance principle).
  • The ARGE cannot be entered in the commercial register. ARGE members may, however, appear under common company names.

Obligations:

  • Individual ARGE members are liable to income tax, but not the ARGE itself.
  • If the sales revenues exceed EUR 700,000 over two fiscal years, there is an accounting obligation.

Formalities: None

Examples:

FACT SHEET: Association

Purpose: An association is a legal form for joint activities in which at least two persons join together voluntarily for a longer period of time to achieve a specific, common and idealistic purpose (see Austrian Federal Law on Associations 2002, § 1).

Foundation: The foundation of an association is a two-stage process and includes its establishment (Errichtung) and its formation (Entstehung). Establishment takes place through the agreement of statutes (foundation agreement). This agreement requires at least two persons, who can be natural or legal persons. After positive completion of the examination procedure (legal conformity), the association can start its activities.

Bodies and acting persons: In the statutes, organs for the joint decision-making of the members of the association (general assembly) as well as for the management of the association’s business and for the representation of the association externally (management organ) are registered. The general assembly is to be convened at least every five years.

Profits: An association can be economic (income serves exclusively to realize the purpose of the association as well as a ‘secondary purpose’), but may not be calculated to make a profit (§ 1).

Liability: The association is liable for the obligations of the association with its assets. Administrators and association members are personally liable only if this results from other legal regulations or due to personal legal obligations.

Rights:

  • Participation in the general assembly

Duties:

  • Duty to inform: Written notification of the establishment of the association to the association authorities (state police headquarters, district headquarters) by the founders. Notification of the function according to the statutes and the date of the appointment of the representatives of association.
  • Accounting

Formalities: Notification of the establishment of the association, address, copy of the statutes, costs for notification fee (EUR 14.30) and supplement fee.

Examples:

FACT SHEET: Cooperative

Purpose: The purpose of a cooperative is to promote the economic viability of its members. The members are natural or legal persons as well as registered partnerships with entrepreneurial activities, most of which belong to a certain profession or business sector. If economic and/or social services are provided for the members in the broadest sense to promote their members, the pursued purpose of the cooperative within the meaning of the Cooperatives Act (see Austrian Federal Act on Acquisition and Economic Cooperatives 1873) is fulfilled. In accordance with this basic mission, the cooperative must act in an entrepreneurial and market-shaping manner in coordination with its members and by exploiting all advantages of the cooperative economy in order to be able to offer its members optimal services. The special feature of the cooperative compared to other legal forms is that it passes on the services it generates to its members.

Foundation: The Austrian Association of Cooperatives offers assistance in the foundation process. Among other things, it is necessary to draw up a business plan, draft the statutes of the cooperative, and convene an inaugural meeting (Gründungsversammlung).

Bodies and acting persons: Every cooperative must have a board of directors elected from among the number of cooperative members or their authorised representatives, which represents it in and outside of a court. As a rule, board members are elected by the general assembly, which must then be held at least once a year (at the latest in the eighth month after the end of the previous business year). The board of directors can be composed of several private persons (authorized to represent). An alternative is the appointment by the board of directors, which is mandatory for companies with more than 40 employees.

Profits: Profit-making is not an end in itself for a cooperative. The non-distribution of profits serves only to secure the cooperative’s long-term eligibility for support through necessary investments.

Liability: Cooperatives can be established with unlimited or limited liability of their members.

Rights:

  • Utilization of the cooperative’s business support services
  • Voting rights in the General Assembly as well as active and passive voting rights

Duties:

  • Compliance with the statutes and the decisions of the general assembly
  • Subscription and payment of compulsory or voluntary business shares as well as an admission fee and/or membership fees (if the statutes provide for this)
  • Establishment of a prompt, complete, and therefore informative accounting system
  • Proof of trade licence for activities subject to trade regulations
  • Corporate income tax liability (25%) and payment of capital gains tax of 27.5% on distribution of cooperative shares
  • Assessment of similarity in the case of trade marks

Formalities: address, membership of the auditing association, entry in the commercial register, UID number

Examples:

  • Marketing organization of seven forestry communities and other forest owners ‘WaldHolz G.m.b.H.’ (www.waldholz.at)
  • Trade with round and sawn timber sawmill ‘Waldgenossenschaft Iseltal’ (http://www.wgi-holz.at)

6.1.2 Setting

It had been intended to use a moderately sized seminar room at the SPES Schlierbach as the location for the third CINA workshop. However, the venue needed to be changed only a few days before the Workshop, since a Matura class of the Higher Federal Teaching and Research Institute (HBLFA) Raumberg-Gumpenstein with about 25 pupils/Matura students had registered for the Workshop at short notice and a larger room was needed. Thus, the workshop took place at Schlierbach Monastery only a few hundred meters apart from the SPES Schlierbach. However, due to the less sophisticated technical infrastructure and the fact that STUDIA now had to re-organize catering, the preparation and follow-up work was much more complex compared to the first and second CINA workshops. Further, the room was poorly lit.

Table 8: Workshop Program Visioning Workshop Schlierbach
Time Agenda item Presenter/Moderator
14:00 Welcome + Housekeeping (participant list, data protection, feedback forms) Wolfgang/Christian
14:10 What has happened so far? Eva
14:20 Speed dating:
Inner circle: regional stakeholder + IR team
Outer circle: Pupils of HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein
3 questions of 1 minute each:

  1. What do I particularly enjoy when working with wood/forest?
  2. Which projects should definitely be pursue (further)?
  3. Which topics/challenges need further discussion?

Change so that 3 participants get to know each other

Hannah
14:45 ‚Harvest‘ of Post-its from Speed dating (Poster)
14:50 Introduction Eva
14:55 Presentation on ARGE s´Hoiz Gabriel Gruber
15:15 What can we take from the presentation? What do we want (to do), too?
15:30 Coffee break with sandwich buffet
15:45 Introduction to canvas work on three organizational forms – split into groups
15:55 Rotating between stations/canvas   (10 min/ canvas) (2 canvasses per organizational form)
16:25 Merging of the two canvasses on the same organizational form
16:45 Presentation of the finished canvas posters including discussion Hannah, Eva
17:05 Evaluation: What are the next steps? Eva
17:20 Outlook (e.g., Excursion to Vorarlberg organized by MHC in early April, feedback forms, overview participation board, …) Hannah, Eva
17:30 Closing words Wolfgang
17:32 End

6.1.3 Participants

List of Participants:

  1. Regina Buchriegler (Kalkalpen National Park)
  2. Thomas Dickbauer (Sawmill Dickbauer)
  3. Thomas Dobnig (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  4. Christoph Falzberger (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  5. Michael Frank (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  6. Edith Freigassner (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  7. Thomas Gradnitzer (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  8. Gabriel Gruber (MHC Linz, ARGE s’Hoiz Sauwald)
  9. Georg Habacher (Model region for climate and energy ‘Pyhrn-Priel’)
  10. Joachim Kirchweger (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  11. Gerhard Klaffner (Mayor of the municipality of Weyer)
  12. Philipp Knoflach (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  13. Anton Lerchner (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  14. Jakob Lienzer (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  15. Josef Lumplecker (Lumacon)
  16. Michael Marth (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  17. Peter Mauser (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  18. Renate Mayer (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Teacher)
  19. Karl Mayr (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  20. Josef Meierl (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Teacher)
  21. David Meisterhofer (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  22. Tobias Moser (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  23. Sebastian Müller (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  24. Christa Öhlinger-Brandner (Project manager Waldness)
  25. Maria Pirker (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  26. Jakob Pleschiutschnig (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  27. Franz Reiterer (Engineering office for forestry)
  28. Michael Schachner (Office manager of the municipality of Weyer)
  29. Stefan Schimpl (Tourism association Almtal)
  30. Florian Steurer (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  31. Kathrin Tiefenthaler (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  32. Corin Vilanek (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  33. Andreas Vorraber (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  34. Hans Walder (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)
  35. Fritz Wolf (Forest-related education, Waldschule Almtal)
  36. Josef Wolfthaler (LEADER Region Traun4tler Alpenvorland, LAG-Manager)
  37. Rainer Zechmeister (Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS – Matura student)

Project participants:

  1. Wolfgang Baaske (STUDIA Schlierbach)
  2. Eva Seebacher (STUDIA Schlierbach)
  3. Hannah Politor (STUDIA Schlierbach)
  4. Michael Klingler (University of Innsbruck)
  5. Jutta Kister (University of Innsbruck)
  6. Christian Schleyer (University of Innsbruck)

Excused participants:

  1. Fritz Schmeißl (Baumfreund) – due to illness
  2. Herbert Wölger (Gesäuse National Park, managing director) – is increasingly resigning because the interests of Styrian stakeholders are not sufficiently represented; yet, stakeholders from Styria hardly attend

6.1.4 Key thematic findings

In order to guarantee the success of the platform in the long term, a stronger commitment from the regional stakeholders is necessary. The motivation and the will to create and manage the Innovation platform Forests-Wood must primarily come from the ranks of the stakeholders. Important in this context is the outcome of the next task force meeting (planned for 23. March 2020, rescheduled due to COVID-19), which intends to formulate and decide on the objectives for the platform. The goal and purpose of the platform formation is not clearly identifiable at the current project status. A further challenge remains the identification of responsible persons, who, for example, would like to be part of the board of directors if an association is being founded.

A sufficient number of general and detailed platform objectives have already been identified, which will be taken up for the further activities in 2020 or in the remaining project period until the end of October 2020:

  • Formulating and ‘agreeing’ – as consensually as possible – on a clear vision/objectives in a next meeting soon with (particularly) active/interested regional stakeholders/selected previous CINA-Workshop participants.
  • Further discussing the organization form of the platform .
  • One more meeting / workshop will and can be organized and conducted by the IR team, which should be followed by the handover of the initiative and agenda to the regional stakeholders (the IR team will continue to provide advice at least until the end of the project).

In the final discussion, the regional stakeholders were reluctant to take on responsibility and ‘leading’ roles. We suspect that this can be explained by the fact that it is not yet clear exactly what the objectives of the platform can and should be, or that there are quite different ideas about them. In this context, there is also an uncertainty as to whether the goals and agendas of the stakeholders can be brought together and a corresponding exchange of ideas can take place even after the end of the InnoForESt project. Here, it seems important that the formulation of objectives and respective decisions must come from the regional stakeholders themselves. The IR team would like to (continue to) support the regional stakeholders in the formulation of objectives, but does not want to pre-formulate/propose contents and results in order to activate and motivate the stakeholders and to create a feeling of ownership.

Proposal for the next event:

  • Workshop on goal setting for the platform: the IR team supports the formulation of common goals, but does not prepare them.
  • Only a narrow circle of regularly participating and active/motivated stakeholders will be invited (‘Task Force Group Eisenwurzen’); there will be no public invitation.
  • As an input to this event, the IR team, in particular the UIBK team, will compile and reflect on objectives (general and detailed) previously mentioned/identified and partly discussed over time (stakeholder interviews, but especially the discussions at the first and second CINA workshops and the other InnoForESt meetings in the region. The future of the network and its potential members will also be outlined from a scientific point of view. Idea: mentioning names (activating), who has which resources? show what is available, how the network could look like from the IR team’s point of view. For this purpose, the previous activities and contributions of the respective regional stakeholders are to be compiled and processed.
  • Date: 23 March 2020 (content preparation in the first half of March 2020).
  • Participants can grow into the role of regional drivers of innovation with project support.

6.1.5 Detailed thematic findings

In the following, the notes made during the input presentation by Gabriel Gruber on ARGE s’Hoiz and during the canvas work on the three organizational options for the Innovation Platform Forests-Wood are presented.

Figure 10: Notes made during the input presentation by Gabriel Gruber on ARGE s’Hoiz.
  • Tourism: wooden chalets – where does the wood come from? – How is it furnished?
  • How do I get in?
  • Network and knowledge approach (?)
  • Cross-industry
  • Saw mill: networking and network
  • Education: NOW maintain old crafts
  • External confirmation of cooperation
  • Stories of benefit
  • History Waldviertel
  • Alternative regional wood species are becoming trendy
  • Value creation network
  • Scrap (Ausschussware) – nevertheless high-quality production

Notes and comments by the participants made during the canvas work on the organizational forms:

1) Work group (ARGE)

Figure 11: Notes and comments by the participants made during the canvas work on the work group

A work group, or ARGE for short, is a very loose form of organization. There is no common capital and no contract is necessary. All members can, however, refer to the common affiliation to the outside world and accordingly create an external effect. Participation is therefore low-threshold. Thus, an ARGE can be a first step towards ‘making visible’ the common theme/objective and cooperation.

An ARGE is well suited to bring together actors from all areas of the value chain in one organizational form. Partners with specific knowledge will find their role as well as participants who take care of public relations. It seems to be central for the success of a work group to designate/have at least one person in the role of leader and ‘champions’ in order to create a basic structure and operate it consistently (invitations to meetings, communication, etc.).

Resources for an ARGE come from the sum of what the members contribute, i.e. expertise, perseverance, and time. Sponsors and supporters can also be acquired; bank loans would be possible, too. However, the central resource is the exchange of knowledge and experience among the ARGE members.

Central activities lie in the cross-industry networking, the bundling of know-how, and the raising of awareness on a topic, for example on the current situation of ‘wood issues’ on site, quality seals, alternatives to the conventional timber industry, moon wood marketing, etc. The primary goal of the activities is a) establishing and strengthening the network and interlinkages between its members, b) bundling, exchange, and expansion of knowledge as well as c) the positive external impact/visibility and communication of the common concern to the outside world. Concrete projects can be carried out with an ARGE even if only a small part of the members is actually involved. It is more suitable for smaller, manageable projects, as there is a joint liability. For example, these are actions in which the issue of the work group is communicated and disseminated, including school projects, design competitions, actions in which local ‘stories’ about forests and wood are disseminated, and projects in which publicly visible objects are made of wood (wood instead of plastic, wooden signposts, wooden clothing, etc.).

Nevertheless, risks lie in the low level of formalization. There is little commitment needed on the part of the stakeholders to become a member, which entails a higher risk of disintegration, especially when expectations among members differ. An ARGE is also likely to be taken less seriously in terms of its external image. Deficits arise in terms of efficiency, especially if an ARGE has a large number of members. However, these risks can be mitigated by a proper and inclusive process of developing a common vision (‘What do we stand for?’) and formulating statutes.

2) Association

Figure 12: Notes and comments by the participants made during the canvas work on the association.

The association offers many opportunities to implement projects and activities, ranging from idea platforms, public relations work to educational projects with the aim of raising awareness. A wide range of topics can be developed in the form of workshops, but usually require financial input ‘from outside’ (e.g., through funding projects such as LEADER).

Legislation already provides for a first clear and binding allocation of roles (chairperson, secretary, treasurer). Furthermore, roles within the association can be freely distributed. This applies, for example, to internal and external communication (‘ambassadors’) and public relations. An association also ‘lives’ from active roles (brainstormers, carers) and people with experience and expertise in questions of project development and business models.

This also increases the danger that some people achieve more than others (free riding). On a higher level, the idea of ‘team as a resource’ should not be neglected. In the association – in contrast to the ARGE – there is a higher expenditure of time and financial resources. At the same time, this legal form offers the possibility to acquire subsidies and sponsors. This also reduces the individual risk for all members of the association (less own resources are necessary).

The networking should generally extend beyond companies. Contacts to corporate bodies, educational and research organizations, municipalities, sponsors, customers, and private persons should be maintained. The exchange of information with other associations and LEADER regions is also considered important.

The question of liability or the distribution of liability within the association is perceived as an increased risk (‘Who is liable in case of financial problems?’). From practical experience, the distribution of responsibilities within an association is often one-sided and is left to a few people [voluntary work vs. profit orientation]. Rights, obligations, and bureaucratic hurdles are mentioned, but are regarded as moderate.

3) Cooperative

Figure 13: Notes and comments by the participants made during the canvas work on the cooperative.

The overriding interest of a cooperative is the economic viability of its members. A concrete project idea that can potentially fulfil the purpose of economic viability should be developed in advance. The role of a cooperative ranges from mediation, coordinating and placing of orders to marketing and linking of common interests.

In this sense, the cooperative has an increased economic responsibility towards its members from the beginning. In addition, the cooperative carries a variety of risks (especially in relation to resources) and obligations:

  • Generally greater use of time, financial, and personnel resources than required by an association or ARGE.
  • Higher share capital (Stammkapital) required at foundation (entry hurdle), membership fees.
  • Obligations: Bureaucracy (founding formalities, annual accounting).
  • Questions of liability.
  • Internal competition possible (price pressure).
  • Potential for disputes: Due to economic pressure and own capital investments, the risk of disputes within the cooperative increases.
  • Risk: One-sidedness in the orientation of the cooperative: public vs. economic interests; public mission is often not realized.

In order to minimize these risks, the ‘community idea’ as the ideology of a cooperative is very important. Individual interests must be placed after the collective goal of this form of organization.

The cooperative is well known as an organizational form in the forest and timber sector. Examples present in the Eisenwurzen include purchasing cooperatives, forest cooperatives, wood harvesting cooperatives, and carpentry cooperatives.

These experiences show that a larger value chain/network consisting of several sectors is important. According to Fritz Wolf, the idea of a ‘chalet’ could serve as a cooperative activity in the region in order to advance the goal of (regional) marketing of wood. Individual tasks include the drafting of ideas, planning, marketing, and product development. The value creation network of a chalet could integrate forestry, tourism, research (STUDIA), furniture construction (craftsmen) up to the utilization of shredded wood for the production of wood chips.

In order to successfully realize a cooperative form of organization, previous experiences gained from being an ARGE or association in earlier project phases is recommended.

6.1.6 Process

In the preparatory phase, the planning and organization of the workshop was mainly done by Eva Seebacher, Hannah Politor, and Wolfgang Baaske (STUDIA). Arrangements were discussed between STUDIA and UIBK via several Skype meeting as well as at an IR team meeting in Salzburg on 16.12.2019. The UIBK team prepared three fact sheets on the organizational forms ARGE, Association and Cooperative. The fact sheets were printed out and made available for the canvas work in small groups at the workshop.

At the workshop, Wolfgang Baaske and Christian Schleyer started with a short greeting. Afterwards, Hannah Politor and Eva Seebacher took over the moderation (presentation of the workshop procedure, organizational matters) and introduced previous stages of the InnoForESt project (time schedule was shown with various posters). Jutta Kister und Michael Klingler supported, if required, and documented/observed the workshop.

Subsequently, the ‘Speed dating’ method was used to get to know each other and exchange information on three overriding questions related to forest-wood:

  1. What do I particularly enjoy when working with wood/forest?
  2. Which projects should definitely be pursue (further)?
  3. Which topics/challenges need further discussion?

In the inner circle were regional stakeholders and members of the IR team, in the outer circle pupils/Matura students of the HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein and two teachers. After one minute the discussion partners changed. Important experiences from the discussions were individually recorded on post-its, put on the last poster of the project timeline, and selected observations/impressions briefly presented in the plenary.

Gabriel Gruber introduced the ARGE s’Hoiz (20 minutes) using a PowerPoint presentation and reported on the extensive practical experiences on tasks, goals, challenges, and problems of platform formation in the forest-wood sector. Afterwards, a short discussion took place. Essential insights from the input presentation and discussion were individually collected in the form of post-its and put on the poster ‘What do we want to take with us?’.

During the coffee break, also sandwiches were served. Here, further informal exchange between participants took place. Then, Hannah Politor and Eva Seebacher presented the next part of the workshop with canvas work in small groups, which focused on the discussion of suitable forms of organization for the Innovation Platform Forests-Wood and networking. The canvas discussions on the three pre-selected and content-prepared organizational forms ARGE, Association and Cooperative were each led by a member of the IR team in six small groups. The factsheets prepared by the UIBK team were used as a support. Each organizational form was discussed by two groups (consisting of students and regional stakeholders) with regard to the canvas topic areas, and statements/comments were written down on moderation cards. There were two changes in total (three rounds), so that ideally, each regional stakeholder could discuss all forms of organization. Directly after the canvas discussions, the students bid farewell as planned.

The highlights of the three canvas posters were presented one after the other by one representative of the IR team and one regional stakeholder. By then, the number of workshop participants had been reduced to 13 persons, 6 of whom were members of the IR team. The last part of the workshop was dedicated to the discussion of the further course of the platform formation and the general question ‘How do we continue?’ (see poster; central results were recorded on the poster). Gabriel Gruber took part in the discussion and frequently referred to experiences from the ARGE s’Hoiz. Further, with respect to organizational matters it was mentioned that the InnoForESt excursion to Vorarlberg was cancelled, yet that two alternatives with trips in the region organized by MHC and ProHolz were available. Finally, feedback forms were handed out and ‘collected’ at the exit.

Concrete task assignments and initiative measures on part of individual workshop participants were not achieved (the poster ‘Who, does what, until when?’ remained empty). However, Thomas Dickbauer offered to use the event ‘Jazz im Hoizwerk’ in July 2020 to further network/feature the platform and to organize a workshop on this occasion with the participation of Erwin Thoma. The workshop was recorded by video, photo, and audio.

After the workshop, the workshop was reflected upon by the IR team during a Skype conversation on 3 February 2020:

  • We were a strong team in the workshop. STUDIA took a stronger role in planning and methodology; as agreed at the internal workshop in Salzburg on 16 December 2019.
  • Despite the short-notice registration of the Matura students, we got along well and the workshop went basically well. However, it is unclear to what extent the students have influenced the project results in the end. While their presence and their contributions to the discussion in the plenary sessions were very enriching, it seems that they made the concentrated and targeted discussion of the organizational forms at the CANVAS tables rather difficult; not least because hardly more than two regional stakeholders per CANVAS were present and could therefore discuss ‘with each other’.
  • It was also positive that people from Styria were present.
  • The room was not optimal, but ok.

Small group canvas work

  • Taking a closer look at the three organizational forms together made sense and was good. It is not yet clear to what extent the regional stakeholders will now implement or pursue this and whether the form of preparation and discussion was ultimately activating enough. At the same time, it was important to invest the time, since this knowledge can be drawn on later when it is needed in concrete terms. Presumably, this knowledge also provides certainty that there are concrete organizational formats for networking and cooperation when it is a matter of individual stakeholders playing a leading role in the network.
  • In some CANVAS groups, the division has led to individual stakeholders only being at the table with pupils and not being able to exchange ideas with other stakeholders. The situation had been prepared differently in the planning. In addition, when the CANVAS tables were changed, the regional stakeholders were partly regrouped, thus, contrary to the plan, not all regional stakeholders were able to exchange views on all organizational forms in the breakout groups.

6.1.7 Stakeholder interactions

A special situation arose due to the public announcement of the workshop and the broad promotion of the InnoForest process in Eisenwurzen. In addition to the registrations of the already known regional stakeholders, some of whom were present several times at previous CINA workshops or other InnoForESt meetings, three new regional stakeholders also registered; at short notice also a Matura class of the HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein (25 students) joined the workshop. This also had an impact on the interaction dynamics of the participants and regional stakeholders during the workshop.

Initially, the facilitation and start-up phase of the workshop promoted getting to know and integrating between people already known and familiar with InnoForESt and the new stakeholders through a ‘warm-up’ phase, which had a very positive effect on the subsequent interactions. The Matura students were very open and interested, asked a lot of questions and brought application and reality related aspects into the group discussion. In addition, it became clear from the discussions during the warm-up phase that many of the students ‘come from’ family farms, which, to a certain extent, also manage their own forests (Waldbauern).

Apart from the school class, three other new regional stakeholders were also present. Franz Schmeißl from the Baumfreund carpentry workshop was already unable to attend the last workshop due to illness; he now has a successor in the lease of the farm and he, Rainer Zechmeister, took part for the first time. Initially, in an openly observant attitude, he made it clear through his statements during the course of the workshop that he would like to continue to be involved in the platform in the future and sees advantages in a commitment.

Also new were the mayor (Gerhard Klaffer) and an administrative employee of the municipality Weyer (Michael Schachner). So far, only a few people from the field of (local) administrations had taken part in InnoForESt events, although their participation was always considered important (e.g., for the concrete project implementation, the linking of the topic protection forest and regional value chain forest-wood). Thus, it is a positive sign that these persons participated, although there were only few requests to speak from these participants circle and they left the workshop before the final round.

Regina Buchriegler from the Kalkalpen National Park, who could not attend the second CINA workshop, took part again, although she was rather reluctant to interact with other participants. This may be due to the fact that the ‘protection aspect’ important for the national park conflicts with the ‘use aspect’ primarily discussed during the workshop. The latter aspect featured more prominently during the discussion about the forest-wood network. Herbert Wölger from the Gesäuse National Park did not take part. He had announced this earlier, as he feels responsible for the stakeholders of Styria, who are, however, only willing to travel to Schlierbach for a workshop to a limited extent. As a result, Herbert Wölger will withdraw from the platform/network in the future.

Josef Lumplecker, who took part in the second CINA workshop for the first time and subsequently pushed a small satellite event supported/featured by InnoForESt, also took part again and reported what had happened in the meantime. On his initiative, an InnoForESt-supported workshop was held in June 2019 in a hotel in Weyer, where Josef Lumplecker presented and discussed a concept for the pyrolysis of beech wood residues (energetic use) with local forestry companies, employees of the municipality of Weyer and the LEADER region (20 participants, of which 2 were from STUDIA). Even though the progress of ‘his’ topic ‘Pyrolysis’ was not as successful as he had hoped, he signalled further interest in the process of platform formation and also offered to bring in experiences from his business/business activities in the future. However, he also left before the final discussion round.

The other participants, who had also already attended InnoForESt events – some of them several times – showed their continued interest in participating in the further process of platform and network formation. They responded positively to the information prepared and discussed on possible organizational forms of the Innovation Platform Forests-Wood. They also participated in the final plenary discussion round, in which the further steps were planned and in which the number of participants was reduced. Still attending: Gabriel Gruber, Georg Habacher, Christa Öhlinger-Brandner, Stefan Schimpl, Fritz Wolf, Josef Wolfthaler, Rainer Zechmeister (who is designated to take over the carpentry business from Franz Schmeißl, who will continue to be absent due to illness), Thomas Dickbauer. The interaction was open, collegial – even during the breaks there was intensive exchange and discussion.

Statements relevant for the further course of and the degree of commitment to the platform formation were made especially in the smaller final round. Here the circle was more intimate. It became clear from the reserved/reluctant requests to speak that, on the one hand, the stakeholders are still hesitant to take the first step and to take an active part in taking on a leading role in the future. On the other hand, it became clear that there are still gradually different views on what the precise goal(s) and the function(s) the network/platform should have or take on. For this reason, the own role in the network is also assessed differently. In this sense, the desire for a clearer definition of the goal(s) and the still hesitating reactions on the topic of ‘Who does what by when?’ can be interpreted. Nevertheless, Josef Wolfthaler declared his willingness, as a representative of the LEADER region Traunviertler Alpenvorland, to play a role in the future to initiate invitations to (network/platform) meetings and in organizing them; at least temporarily. Thomas Dickbauer also offered to use the ‘Jazz im Hoizwerk’ event in July 2020 to further promote the platform and to organize a workshop on this occasion with the participation of